Lee Bradbury: Hawks must focus on vital clash

Pedro Monteiro
Pedro Monteiro
AFC Portchester take on Dorchester next in the FA Cup. Picture: Neil Marshall

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Lee Bradbury is looking for the Hawks to halt their slide down the National League South table by beating fellow strugglers Wealdstone at Westleigh Park (3pm).

The manager knows it is important his players don’t allow attention to drift towards their FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie at home against National League side Cheltenham Town.

This weekend the priority for the Hawks is to stop the rot in the league.

Wealdstone are one place below 17th-placed Hawks in the table but are unbeaten in their last eight games and will pose an awkward test.

‘We want to start climbing the league so it is a big three points on offer,’ said Bradbury.

‘Our aim has to be to take the confidence from our FA Cup wins into our league performances.

‘It can help us install that winning mentality we need.

‘Our league form has been frustrating because we have played well in patches but not been ruthless enough in both penalty areas.

‘Come Christmas time and the turn of the year we want to be back up challenging for the play-offs.

‘If we can do that we can give ourselves a chance.

‘It is vital we start to pick up some momentum and the sooner we start the ball rolling the better.’

Wealdstone will arrive on the south coast with a degree of confidence.

Bradbury insists as the home team the onus is on the Hawks to go out and win the game.

‘Wealdstone will come and try to make themselves hard to play against,’ said the Hawks boss.

‘They will be tough to break down and also possess some quick players who can hurt you on the counter-attack.

‘We have to make sure we are ready for that.’

Bradbury will have to decide whether to go with youth or experience in the middle of his back four.

Veteran Pedro Monteiro has come in for the FA Cup games and performed admirably.

He was preferred ahead of youngster Manny Monthe in the 2-0 FA Cup win at Aveley and Bradbury may be tempted to stick with at the winning formula.

Experienced defender Brian Dutton is also close to returning but this weekend might be just too soon.

Bradbury was encouraged in midweek when the Hawks played a behind-closed-doors friendly.

A number of his injured players took part.

They showed signs they are not far away from getting back.

Striker James Hayter was another who came through the game unscathed and could be involved.

Meanwhile, Pompey loanee Rommy Boco has returned to the Blues.

Hawks: Young, Davies, Strugnell, Monteiro, Monthe, Blanchett, Stock, Donnelly, Clifton, Swallow, Paterson, Morgan, Azeez, Hayter, Mullings, Cummings, Dutton, Medway