Hawks tipped to thrive in play-off pressure

150209_HAWKS_07/02/15''H&W Ben Swallow. ''Vanarama South football action at Westleigh Park, Havant and Waterlooville v Farnborough.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (150209-435) PPP-150702-220724003
150209_HAWKS_07/02/15''H&W Ben Swallow. ''Vanarama South football action at Westleigh Park, Havant and Waterlooville v Farnborough.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (150209-435) PPP-150702-220724003
Ryan Pennery netted for Moneyfields. Picture: Neil Marshall (171026-11)

Trophy dream is over for Moneys

  • Bradbury reckons side will hold their nerve
  • Westleigh Park boss expects thrilling semi-final scrap
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Lee Bradbury is backing the Hawks to hold their nerve in their two-legged Vanarama Conference South play-off semi-final against Boreham Wood.

The runners-up visit Westleigh Park for a mouth-watering first leg tonight (7.45pm).

It is a big occasion and a chance for us to grasp the opportunity we have been striving for all season

Lee Bradbury

Both sides play attacking football and, although they will be under intense pressure with promotion at stake, Bradbury believes it will be an exciting contest.

The Hawks boss said: ‘The onus will be on us as the home side to take the game to them and try to win it.

‘We will have to be at it from the start and try to impose ourselves on the game.

‘It is an old cliche but at the end of the 90 minutes it will still only be half-time in the tie.

‘Both teams will be wanting to make sure they go into the second game still in with a chance.

‘It is unlikely it will be decided on the night.

‘Ideally we can go into the second game ahead, which will make them come at us.’

Apart from the blip against Whitehawk on Saturday, the Hawks have been in good form heading into the play-offs.

The home side had a couple of key players missing in the 2-1 defeat at the weekend.

And Bradbury is hoping to have them back in the frame for tonight’s showdown.

Experienced full-back Warren Cummings has recovered from a bout of tonsillitis and winger Ben Swallow is feeling better after being under the weather.

However, AFC Bournemouth loanee Harry Cornick remains a doubt for the tie.

Cornick is on a course of antibiotics in a bid to clear up an infected toe which prevents him from even putting his boot on.

The home side are still without two of their most experienced players.

Brian Stock and Ed Harris are out of the game as they serve the final match of their respective suspensions.

Both will be available for the second leg, though.

Full-back Dan Blanchett is also ruled out of tonight’s fixture due to a one-game ban.

The Hawks can approach the game with a degree of confidence having already completed a league double over their visitors.

Both games ended 2-1 in the Hawks’ favour but there was little between the two teams.

And Bradbury is expecting two more tight affairs.

‘Boreham Wood will be intent on avenging their two defeats, so we will have to give it everything,’ said the Westleigh Park manager.

‘It is a big occasion and a chance for us to grasp the opportunity we have been striving for all season.

‘We have a good blend of youth and experience in our squad.

‘And these are the type of games they all want to play in.

‘A number of our players have been in this situation before.

‘They will be able to help those who haven’t.

‘The youngsters will play with no fear and we are determined not to let the chance pass us by.

‘It is all set for a great night at Westleigh Park.’

Hawks: Young, Huggins, Strugnell, Dutton, Cummings, Donnelly, Carmichael, Swallow, Hooper, Wright, Ciardini, Bubb, Mullings, Cornick, Monteiro, Medway