Hawks manager Lee Bradbury is pleased to welcome back his big three for tonight’s friendly against Conference Premier side Salisbury City at Westleigh Park (7.45pm).
Captain Ed Harris, last season’s top goalscorer Ollie Palmer and wing wizard Christian Nanetti are expected to return after missing the club’s opening two pre-season matches.
Central defender Harris has been coaching at Chelsea’s summer training camp in Spain, while Palmer had family commitments in Portugal.
Nanetti, meanwhile, spent last week in Las Vegas competing in the World Poker Championship series.
The absence of three key players has been frustrating for Bradbury and he believes having them available can make a big difference.
‘I have been pleased with our two games so far but at times we have missed the quality the three absentees bring,’ said Bradbury.
‘They will strengthen us in the month ahead of the Conference South.
‘Next season we will make sure players get the dates of games early enough so they can plan work and holidays around them.’
Goalkeeper Scott Bevan will play his first game since signing a two-year deal and Bradbury is convinced his capture is a gamble that will pay off.
Bevan didn’t play for Bristol Rovers last season after having an operation on his wrist, while he also spent an early part of his career out of action when he had a kidney removed after another serious injury.
‘I have done my due diligence on Scott and his injuries,’ said Bradbury.
‘Often it is down to how the players cope mentally and Scott has the personality to deal with it.
‘The lad is looking for a fresh challenge and, at 6ft 7in, he is a big presence. Despite his height he is also very agile and, in our league, you need a keeper who is comfortable taking crosses.’
Bradbury has also quashed rumours his ex-Bournemouth team-mate Warren Cummings is on his way to the Hawks.
Cummings, 32, will play against Salisbury tonight but only to give new left-back Danny Blanchett a break.
‘I have told Warren there is nothing for him here at the moment,’ said Bradbury.
Midfielder Steve Ramsey is ruled out by a sore toe but triallist Serge Makofo gets another chance.
Hawks: Bevan, Newton, Blanchett, Cummings, Hutchinson, Harris, Monteiro, Woodford, Strugnell, Ryan, Kabba, Ciardini, Makofo, Jones, Nanetti, Palmer, Searle.