Hawks ready for tough battle with title winners

Nigel Atangana. Picture: Mick Young
Nigel Atangana. Picture: Mick Young
Brett Poate. Picture: Neil Marshall

Moneys hope big crowd can inspire flying Southern League start

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Lee Bradbury has warned the Hawks not to expect an easy ride against Eastleigh at Westleigh Park today (3pm).

The visitors were crowned Skrill South champions on Good Friday.

They can now relax and prepare for promotion to the Skrill Premier next season.

But Bradbury knows it will be dangerous for his team to think Eastleigh have nothing to play for.

He said: ‘Eastleigh will want to come and showcase their championship winning talents against us.

‘It is important we remain focused and go about doing our job.

‘I have no doubt Eastleigh will be a threat and want to win the local derby just as much as we do.

‘They are a good side with quality players and we will have to work hard to get a foothold in the game.’

The final play-off place looks likely to go to either the Hawks or Dover Athletic as the season enters its final week.

Both teams have 65 points but the Hawks have a game in hand.

Dover occupy the play-off berth at the moment on goal difference and this week looks like being a huge test of nerve for both teams.

‘The situation couldn’t be any tighter,’ said Bradbury.

‘I am looking for us to win both our remaining home games, so that we can go to Tonbridge on the final day with fate in our own hands.

‘A win today will keep the pressure on Dover and it is vital we get something from the game.’

Dover are also at home today against relegation-battling Whitehawk.

The Hawks have Nigel Atangana in the squad again after a foot injury.

At first it was thought he had broken a bone in his foot which would rule him out for the rest of the season.

A scan, however, showed that wasn’t the case.

And the French midfielder celebrated in the best possible style.

He retuned to action at Weston-Super-Mare on Friday and scored with a stunning strike in the 1-1 draw.

‘Having Nigel back is a massive boost for us,’ said Bradbury.

‘He is the lynchpin in our midfeld with his energy and quality on the ball.

‘We miss him when he is not there.

‘It showed against Boreham Wood last week.’

The home side have a huge fitness doubt over powerful targetman Dennis Oli, who limped off at Weston.

It is feared Oli might have a hernia problem.

That could rule him out for the rest of the week.

Apart from Oli and long-term injury victim Scott Bevan, Bradbury has the rest of his squad available to select from.

Hawks: Buchel, Strugnell, Woodford, Harris, Blanchett, Atangana, Ryan, Donnelly, Ciardini, Nanetti, Kabba, Bassele, Monteiro, Cummings, Newton, Jones, Przespoleswki, Hutchinson, Ramsey.