Hawks keen to close gap at top

Hawks striker Dennis Oli Picture: Dave Haines
Hawks striker Dennis Oli Picture: Dave Haines
Andreas Robinson. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Injury crisis remains a pain for Hawks

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The Hawks travel to Dover Athletic with boss Lee Bradbury desperate to continue their mini Skrill South revival (3pm).

Two successive league wins have propelled the Westleigh Park side up to 11th in the table and changed the mood around the club following an early exit from the FA Cup and the hands of Gloucester City.

The Hawks are now only two points adrift of the play-off places, while six different players have got in on the act in terms of goals scored in the past two games.

Bradbury’s side will need to find their shooting boots again when they come up against the meanest defence in the league in Dover tomorrow.

Their hosts have conceded just seven goals in 10 league games this season and won’t be easy to break down.

However, the Hawks have been at their most resilient on their travels, suffering only one defeat in four games.

And Bradbury hopes that will continue as they bid to close the gap on the teams above them.

‘We have had an indifferent start but, importantly, are still within touching distance of the play-off places,’ said Bradbury.

‘It will be tough at Dover but we have already been to some difficult places this season and come away with points.

‘If we continue to go about our work in the correct way then we will give ourselves a chance of another positive result.

‘I am expecting a tight game against a team that hasn’t conceded many goals.

‘Under the circumstances, the first goal will prove vital and we must aim to keep a clean sheet and nick it.

‘Scoring goals hasn’t been a problem for us in recent games with different players chipping in.

‘We were always going to need that to happen after our leading goalscorer Ollie Palmer left for Mansfield in the summer.’

Bradbury will de delighted if target man Dennis Oli can repeat his goalscoring touch shown against Basingstoke.

The powerful hitman, more renowned for his hard graft and holding the ball up, produced a superb curling finish to show an added dimension to his game.

Oli is getting stronger every game after suffering an indifferent pre-season and injury-ravaged early spell to the season.

Bradbury is convinced he can be a key player for the Hawks.

‘If we can get him to score more goals he will be one of the best strikers in our league,’ said Bradbury.

‘He is a great team player with lots of Football League experience, and is still only 29 years of age.’

Leading scorer Sahr Kabba and wing wizard Christian Nanetti will face late fitness tests before a decision is made for a return to action.

Central defender and captain Ed Harris is still out with ankle ligaments and although Nigel Atangara has returned from France, he is unavailable.

Hawks: Bevan, Newton, Woodford, Monteiro, Blanchett, Ryan, Kewley-Graham, Ciardini, Oli, Jones, Przespolewski, Kabba, Nanetti, Ramsey, Bird., Hutchinson, Strugnell