Palmer ‘itching’ to start Bromley clash

Hawks' Ollie Palmer in action against Hampton & Richmond. Picture: Mick Young
Hawks' Ollie Palmer in action against Hampton & Richmond. Picture: Mick Young
Baffins Milton Rovers found it tough against Portland. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

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Ollie Palmer is hoping to break into the Hawks’ starting line-up for the tricky trip to Bromley in the Blue Square South (3pm).

The-19-year-old has had to make do with a seat on the bench since returning from a two-week holiday in the Caribbean over Christmas.

Palmer made a blistering start to his Hawks career after joining from Woking in October, scoring eight goals in as many games.

His form quickly brought him to the attention of a number of Football League clubs.

But since then the youngster has gone off the boil.

‘I am sure Ollie is itching to get back in and we need to have him firing on all cylinders,’ said Gale.

‘Scottie Jones has done well up front for us but I may need a little more experience.

‘Palmer is slightly more experienced and prolific with his goalscoring.

‘But he has only been back training with us for two weeks after his holiday.

‘He had a spell when he first came to us when he was scoring goals for fun and we need him to get back to that.

‘A couple of Football League clubs rang me up about him and that wasn’t ideal for the young player.

‘I am not blaming the player because that can unsettle anyone, let alone a youngster.

‘He suffered a loss of form because maybe it caused him to take his eye off the ball.

‘The goals dried up but the lad is prepared to work hard and I am sure he will soon be scoring again because we are creating the chances.’

Bromley will present the Hawks with another stern challenge.

They too are battling for survival – sitting just one place above the relegation zone.

But they come into the game on the back of a superb 3-0 win at Weston-super-Mare last weekend with danger-man Hakeem Araba grabbing a brace.

The Hawks are well aware of the Bromley hitman’s threat.

He grabbed both goals in the Kent side’s 2-1 win at Westleigh Park earlier in the season.

That game also saw Palmer open his Hawks account.

Manager Gale may look upon that as a good omen and reason for giving his striker a recall.

He said: ‘We have only lost twice in the last 13 games.

‘Far too many have been drawn, although we have displayed good resilience away from home.

‘I have had to change the shape of the team, making us more solid in the midfield.

‘Perry Ryan and Paul Hinshelwood have given us a bit of steel in that area.

‘Some of the more flair players – like Sammy Igoe and Craig Braham-Barrett – have to be patient.’

Bobby Hopkinson is ruled out by suspension and on-loan Pompey striker Dan Thompson is only rated 50-50 after taking a heavy knock last week.

Hawks: Beazley, Newton, Holland, Pearce, McDonald, Arthur, Hinshelwood, Ryan, Ramsey, Palmer, Jones, Igoe, Braham-Barrett, Thompson, White