The Hawks will need to find a cutting edge from somewhere when they travel to league leaders Braintree Town in the Blue Square South.
A lack of fire power has cost Shaun Gale’s men dear this season as their slim play-off hopes were last week ended following defeats to relegation candidates Boreham Wood and Hampton & Richmond Borough.
All they had to show for their efforts from those two games was substitute Bobby Scott’s last-minute consolation goal against Hampton & Richmond, which effectively counted for nothing.
It was too little, too late as the Hawks again proved far too lightweight in front of goal to mount a serious play-off push – something Gale hopes will change for tomorrow’s game at Cressing Road.
‘Our last two performances have been indifferent and we need 11 battling players out there if we are to get anything at Braintree,’ said Gale.
‘Against Hampton & Richmond on Monday night I felt one or two players didn’t come to the party and could have given us a bit more.
‘One or two thought they were already on holiday and we won’t accept that as a management team.
‘Whether players are still going to be here next season or not, they still have their own professional pride to play for.
‘We want to finish as high up the league as we can and the aim is to win as many of our remaining games as possible.’
Strikers Manny Williams and Mustafa Tiryaki have struggled all season – not just with finding the net but with their all-round game – and that has been a key factor in the Hawks’ failure to challenge for the play-offs.
Williams has never fully recovered from missing the whole of pre-season due to injury, while Tiryaki has appeared distracted at times.
Giuseppe Sole came in from Newport County at the start of the year, injecting some pace and goals, but it hasn’t been anywhere near enough to make the Hawks a force.
Against Hampton & Richmond, the Hawks played some delightful passing football in two-thirds of the pitch, only for the moves to breakdown in and around the opposition penalty area.
Steve Ramsey blazed the best chance over from six yards and that has been the story of the Hawks’ season.
Gale hinted it might be time to give youth a chance, with some of the youngsters on the fringes maybe getting the opportunity to start.
The manager, however, is unlikely to pitch them in against Braintree, who will present a robust physical challenge.
‘When they won at our place they bullied us out of it in the second half,’ said Gale.
‘They are not top of the league for nothing and did a job on us after we should have been out of sight by half-time.
‘My players have to realise they are not on the beach yet and they know our last two performances have been flat.
‘Braintree is a tough place to go and what I won’t do is throw in a lot of kids because it wouldn’t be fair.
‘But the likes of Scott, Liam Sewell and Harvey Whyte will get their chance before the end of the season.’
Gale has serious doubts over the fitness of Sam Pearce and Steve Ramsey for tomorrow’s trip to Essex, while Jon McDonald, Jake Newton and Wes Fogden have all picked up knocks.
Leon Cashman is unlikely to be available due to his Royal Navy duties and Ian Selley is suspended.
Hawks: Ashmore, Newton, Simpemba, Tyrrell, Pearce, McDonald, Hinshelwood, Igoe, Ramsey, Fogden, Scott, Tiryaki, Williams, Sole, Sewell, Howe.