It’s crunch time for the Hawks

Wes Fogden is suspended for the visit of Ebbsfleet
Wes Fogden is suspended for the visit of Ebbsfleet
Steve Hutchings scored twice for Moneysfields in their league win today. Picture: Neil Marshall

Bognor net maiden away win while Moneyfields remain league leaders

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The Hawks’ Blue Square South play-off ambitions face an acid test as they host two top-10 sides in the space of three days.

Fourth-placed Ebbsfleet, managed by ex-Hawks boss Liam Daish, arrive on the south coast tomorrow (3pm), with Dover, who sit in eighth, at West Leigh Park on Monday night (7.45pm).

The Hawks rekindled their play-off hopes with an outstanding 2-1 win at Chelmsford City last weekend but know that will count for nothing if they don’t build on the result.

Shaun Gale’s side are 11th, 12 points adrift of fifth-placed Bromley but have five games in hand.

‘This is a massive weekend for us and we need to come out the other side with the right amount of points,’ said Gale.

‘If we can reproduce the level of last week’s performance at Chelmsford then there is no reason why we can’t.

‘We showed we have the players in our team to hurt opponents and it is about taking chances.

‘Our movement and approach play caused them all sorts of problems and we scored from two set-pieces.

‘When we have lost games it has generally been because we failed to take chances and let in sloppy goals.’

The Hawks go into the Ebbsfleet game without two of their most influential forwards, though.

Wes Fogden and Mustafa Tiryaki are both suspended after being sent off in the 2-0 loss at Farnborough last month.

Tiryaki hasn’t been at his best recently but on his day poses a big, physical threat.

With Giuseppe Sole and Manny Williams up front, the home side will have to rely on pace rather than power.

Fogden’s ability to run at defences and take them on will be another big miss.

Gale is boosted, however, by the return of Sammy Igoe to the squad following a hamstring injury.

Midfielder Igoe is nowhere near match-fit but Gale envisages his experience having a part to play at some stage of the match.

The Hawks won’t know until the last minute if Leon Cashman will be released from his Royal Navy duties.

After robbing Chelmsford of their unbeaten home record, the Hawks went from the sublime to the ridiculous when they lost to Wessex League side Winchester City in the Hampshire Senior Cup on Tuesday night.

Gale is insisting his players get that defeat out of their system.

‘It was horrible and I think it gave us all a shock,’ said Gale.

‘I am sure the players will respond in the right way and will be even more determined to put things right.

‘We have stuttered at home all season for some reason and need the fans to keep getting behind us.

‘Our fate is very much in our own hands because we still have to play most of the top sides – some of them twice.

‘People writing us off because of the number of games we have to play only makes us more determined.’

Hawks: Howe, Ashmore, Newton, Pearce, Simpemba, McDonald, Keehan, Selley, Hinshelwood, Igoe, Williams, Sole, Ramsey, Martin, Cashman.