Benny Read is back for Havant & Waterlooville - and boss Paul Doswell is delighted

Paul Doswell is delighted to have exciting young prospect Benny Read back in the squad as the Hawks host Chippenham in the National League South tomorrow (3pm).

Thursday, 5th December 2019, 3:55 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th December 2019, 4:45 pm
Benny Read. Picture: Dave Haines

The former Wessex League player - a regular for Horndean in the Premier Division last season - has been out injured for nearly two months with a dislocated shoulder.

The full-back’s return is a big boost to Doswell's injury-ravaged side, allowing Sam Magri to move back to his usual central defensive position.

The Hawks are keen to get back to league action after last weekend's game at Billericay Town was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

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It meant the Hawks lost ground on some of their rivals and slipped out of the top three in the National League South.

Doswell, however, viewed it as a blessing in disguise.

‘With Andy Drury picking up a knock on the Thursday, it left us short of players,’ reported Doswell.

'Having the game postponed wasn't the end of the world.

‘It has helped us get some of our injured players closer to returning.

‘Andy Drury and Wes Fogden won't be ready to play this weekend but we are hopeful that they might be fit to play against Slough on Wednesday.

‘That will mean our only long-term absentee is Roarie Deacon, who we don't expect to see until March.’

Hawks’ home form has been steadily improving and they will start as favourites to pick up all three points against their 18th-placed visitors, who have only won once in the league since September.

In addition, Chippenham have won only once away from home in the league, though, they have drawn on four occasions.

Doswell took the opportunity to watch their 2-1 defeat at Eastbourne Borough last weekend.

‘They are a typical west country side - a team of real triers,’ said Doswell.

‘They work hard for each other and we will need to be on our game if we are to pick up the win.’

Coming into the always hectic festive period, Doswell isn't worried about league positions at this stage.

He does, however, know where he wants the Hawks to get to.

‘We have something like nine games in the next 30 days,’ said Doswell.

‘That is nearly one every three days.

‘If we can be there or thereabouts after this then we can be there when it counts at the end of the season.

‘The reality is that with players coming back we are in a better place.

‘The ultimate aim is to win the title, but there is a lot of work to be done and football to be played before then.’

Hawks have five games before Christmas - league matches against Chippenham, Slough, Dulwich (Dec 17) and Braintree (Dec 21), as well as an FA Trophy trip to divisional rivals Cheltenham (Dec 14).