Lee Bradbury has backed Christian Nanetti to help the Hawks deliver in the Skrill South this season – and earn himself a return to the professional ranks.
The Italian-born winger made a lively start to the new campaign in the 0-0 draw against Ebbsfleet last Saturday and is looking to carry that on against Weston-super-Mare at Westleigh Park tomorrow (3pm).
It is the Hawks’ first home game of the season and Bradbury wants his team to make a statement in front of the home fans.
The manager also hopes former QPR youth player Nanetti can turn on the style and show he can join the likes of Ollie Palmer in making the step up to the Football League.
‘This is a big season for Christian,’ said Bradbury.
‘He has seen the likes of Chris Arthur and Ollie Palmer move up into the professional game and he knows he can be the next.
‘If he does what’s asked of him and puts in the hard work, he possesses the ability to play in the Football League.
‘We are trying to find a house in the area for him at the moment so that he can train with us every day.
‘The lad has a natural talent but needs a little tinkering with the nuts and bolts of his game.’
The Hawks made a good start to the campaign with a point at highly-fancied Ebbsfleet.
Bradbury’s team showed good organisation and resilience, and could even have come away with a win.
With their home game against Farnborough postponed on Monday night, the Hawks are keen to get started on home turf.
The Seagulls will present them with a difficult task, arriving on the back of a 3-0 midweek win at Dorchester.
Bradbury watched that game and warns that they can be dangerous.
‘They looked a good little side that passes the ball around well,’ said Bradbury.
‘They have a lively couple of players up front and we will have to be on our guard.
‘Their system of packing players in midfield will be designed to frustrate us.
‘We have got the players that can hurt them, though, and it will be a question of which team can make their formation work best for them.
‘It is important that we try and set our stall out in the first game in front of our own fans.’
Combative midfielder Perry Ryan is still missing as he completes a two-match ban, but Ed Harris and Nanetti have shaken off knocks.
Hawks: Bevan, Newton, Strugnell, Harris, Blanchett, Ramsey, Ciardini, Hutchinson, Kewley-Graham, Nanetti, Kabba, Oli, S. Jones, Woodford, Monteiro, Przespolewski