Hawks pledge to survive for Shaun

Steve Johnson and former Hawks boss Shaun Gale. Picture: Dave Haines

Steve Johnson and former Hawks boss Shaun Gale. Picture: Dave Haines

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Steve Johnson insists the Hawks are determined to deliver victory at Truro City tomorrow (3pm) – and dedicate it to sacked boss Shaun Gale.

The caretaker manager, who took charge with fitness coach Adie Aymes following Gale’s departure on Sunday, has six games to save the Westleigh Park side from relegation.

A 3-2 defeat at Basingstoke saw the Hawks slide into the Blue Square Bet South drop zone last weekend.

The loss sealed Gale’s departure and Johnson, who arrived at the club as his assistant, has admitted taking the reins was not an easy decision.

‘The first thing both Adie and I did was to ring up Shaun,’ he said.

‘After that conversation we decided we wanted to do it for him and for the club.

‘We were part of his management team but unfortunately he is no longer around to complete the job he started.

‘It is up to us now to try and get the team over the finishing line.

‘We spoke with the players and they shared the disappointment we felt about losing Shaun.

‘They also declared their commitment to being successful between now and the end of the season.

‘They want to put right the things that have gone wrong in order to keep the club at its current level.

‘We believe we can stay up and have worked at instilling that belief in the players.’

Johnson received great encouragement from his first game in charge – a 3-2 friendly win over AFC Bournemouth at Westleigh Park on Tuesday.

The Hawks came from behind twice, displaying the battling qualities they will need to escape relegation.

He knows, though, Truro represent a totally different challenge with league points at stake.

Johnson will be without Perry Ryan and Ollie Palmer, who are both serving suspensions.

Keeper Lyall Beazley has also been released to take up a one-year deal to play in Australia.

The trip to Truro is the longest the Hawks face all season and they are to travel down today and stay overnight.

Training is also planned at the Royal Marines facility at Lympstone.

‘It has been a difficult week for all involved,’ said Johnson.

‘Having an overnight stay will give our players some extra time together and reinforce them as a close-knit group.

Hawks: Thomas, Newton, Dolan, Pearce, Arthur, Ramsey, Hutchinson, Hinshelwood, Hopkinson, Igoe, Nanetti, Jones, Thompson, Woodford, Holland, McDonald

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