Hawks must stop bad habit of slipping up

Andreas Robinson. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Andreas Robinson. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Former Pompey chairman Iain McInnes. Picture: Joe Pepler

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LEE BRADBURY has his sights set on a Christmas maximum as the Hawks had into the holiday fixtures against Grays at Westleigh Park tomorrow (3pm).

He has challenged his players to step up their Ryman League premier division promotion push.

His side, however, have a bad habit of slipping up against teams in the lower reaches of the league.

They lost at home against Met Police earlier in the season when the visitors were bottom of the league.

The trend continued with the 2-1 defeat at lowly Merstham in their last outing.

Bradbury knows they need to stop doing that if they want to maintain their bid for the title.

The Hawks boss said: ‘We need to get back to winning ways and don’t want to slip up again.

‘Grays represent another potential banana skin.

‘Our record is not great against teams at the bottom.

‘They are at the bottom end of the league but have won their past three games.

‘They are picking up and look like turning the corner which will make them dangerous opponents.

‘We have to make sure that we are 100-per-cent focused.

‘I am looking for us to stay unbeaten over Christmas.

‘And if we do then we will still be there or thereabouts.’

Midweek results saw the Hawks slip to third in the league but they do have games in hand on most of their closest rivals.

The defeat at Merstham was a disappointing set-back and a game the Hawks will want to put behind them.

They dominated possession were not able to turn this into decisive chances.

It was also a bad day for Bradbury on the injury front.

Wes Fogden limped out of the action in the first half and is unlikely to feature against Grays.

Another doubt is central defender Ed Harris who had to be replaced at the interval because he has a knee problem.

Fortunately for the home side fellow central-defender Ryan Woodford is ready to make a timely return from injury.

‘It is good to have Ryan back because we have missed his calmness on the ball,’ said Bradbury.

‘Losing Wes is a blow but we have other options in midfield.

‘George Barker, Ben Swallow and Andreas Robinson can all play in there.

‘We were all frustrated after the Merstham defeat.

‘They only had two shots on target and scored with both.

‘We have to be far more clinical in both penalty areas and make sure teams don’t hit us on the break.’

HAWKS: Young, Strugnell, Woodford, Molyneaux, Williams, Lewis, Robinson, Stock, Prior, Rutherford, Swallow, Barker, Paterson, Hayter, Tarbuck