Hawks out to avoid Cup upset

Brian Stock Picture: Martyn White

Brian Stock Picture: Martyn White

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Lee Bradbury is expecting a tricky test against Ryman League premier division hosts Wingate & Finchley in the Hawks’ FA Cup third-qualifying-round tie at Summers Lane (3pm).

The south London side have only lost once at home all season and will fancy their chances of causing something of an upset.

Bradbury’s team are also in good form and currently sit third in the Vanarama Conference South table, so it could prove an enthralling Cup tie.

‘They will come at us from the start so we will need to be prepared,’ said the Westleigh Park boss.

‘It is important on occasions like this to start strong and impose ourselves on the game.

‘That way we can nullify the opposition and not offer them any encouragement.

‘We failed to do that at Wealdstone on Monday night and ended up chasing the game.

‘It is the FA Cup and there will be upsets. We have to make sure that we are not one of them.’

The Hawks will miss the experience of Brian Stock, who is suspended after being sent off against Swindon Supermarine in the last round.

The absence of Stock’s calming influence is a big blow to the visitors.

His unavailability because of injury at Wealdstone clearly showed as the Hawks had problems in midfield.

He was replaced by Perry Ryan and Bradbury has to decide whether to give the youngster another chance after his display of poor temperament in the 1-1 draw.

Ryan was hauled off by his manager before half-time after he ‘lost his head’ and was in danger of getting sent off.

The manager also has the option of playing Josh Huggins or Harry Wedlake in midfield and bringing Ben Swallow in on the wing.

‘Brian Stock takes up great positions on and off the ball and we will miss that,’ said Bradbury.

‘I had to take Perry Ryan off on Monday night because I had to put the needs of the team first.

‘He looked like getting himself sent off and we couldn’t afford to let that happen. At times he needs to calm down a bit and have greater self-control.’

Bradbury would not only love to reach the next round but go even further in the world’s most famous cup competition.

The next round brings in the Conference Premier teams – and after that the Football League sides enter the fray.

If the Hawks can reach the first round proper then a tie against local giants Pompey becomes a real possibility.

Bradbury said: ‘We would love to have a good run but can’t think beyond Wingate & Finchley.

‘It is as big a game for them as it is for us.

‘Defensively, we have been great, conceding just three goals in our last seven games.

‘We have also been scoring goals, with JJ Hooper claiming 11 goals in as many games.

‘All the players know, however, that they will have to be at it from the start.’

Hawks: Young, Strugnell, Dutton, Harris, Cummings, Ryan, Donnelly, Ciardini, Bubb, Huggins, Connell, Mullings, Swallow, Blanchett, Woodford, Wedlake, Monteiro

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