Just the Man Hawks are looking for

Hawks striker Manny Williams

Hawks striker Manny Williams

Aaron Dawson. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Gosport aim to give loyal fans something to cheer at home

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Striker Manny Williams could be set for a recall as the Hawks travel to Basingstoke Town’s Camrose Ground for an early kick-off in Blue Square South (1pm).

Williams came off the bench – replacing the below-par Mustafa Tiryaki – to score in the 1-1 draw at Thurrock in midweek, after missing three games with a rib injury.

Williams, who scored 21 league goals last season, has hit only seven so far in an injury-troubled campaign but manager Shaun Gale is hoping a return to form will help propel his side closer to the play-offs in the closing weeks.

‘If we are to get near to where we want to be, we need a Manny Williams firing on all cylinders,’ said Gale.

‘He has been plagued by injury all season and a lack of goals is one of the main reasons we have struggled for any consistency.

‘Sometimes all a striker needs is one goal to spark them back into form and, hopefully, his goal in midweek will do the trick.

‘He knows he hasn’t scored enough goals this season and is determined to end the campaign with a flourish.

‘When we have scored, though, and got ourselves into a good position in games, we have not ended up with the win on too many occasions.

‘It was the same again at Thurrock, although their last-gasp equaliser was a bit of a fluke.

‘The ball looped up off a defender from tight on the byline and went in at the far post.

‘When we get ourselves into winning positions we must learn how to hold on to a lead.

‘The better teams know how to close games out and get past the winning post.’

The Hawks have already drawn 2-2 at the Camrose this season in a hard-fought FA Trophy tie.

Basingstoke won the replay at West Leigh Park, so Gale expects another stiff examination from their rivals.

After the disappointment of dropping two points in the week, the Hawks need nothing less than a win to maintain their play-off ambitions.

Gale has injury worries over three players – Sam Pearce, Ian Simpemba and Paul Hinshelwood – but he is optimistic they can recover in time from their knocks.

‘We’ve had a mixed bag of results against Bas-ingstoke this season and this will not be an easy game.

‘It is important that we go there and do what we need to do and that is win.

‘We certainly won’t be sitting back and defending.

‘Our away record this season is decent and we have to be winning games in our position.

‘Another three points will keep us ticking along and there is plenty left to play for.

‘We know making the play-offs is a tall-order but there are still 30 points at stake.

‘It is vital we keep grinding out results and see where that takes us.

‘I still believe there is one place up for grabs and a winning run could get us close.

‘It is far too easy to be negative and we are determined to remain positive.’

Hawks: Ashmore, Newton, Pearce, Simpemba, McDonald, Igoe, Ramsey, Fogden, Sole, Hinshelwood, Williams, Tiryaki, Selley, Scott, Tyrrell, Robson, Howe.

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