Boss wants bravery as Hawks battle drop

Lee Bradbury insists the Hawks will need to be brave against Basingstoke Town in their National League South relegation battle at the Camrose Ground tomorrow (3pm).

Friday, 11th March 2016, 7:20 am
Hawks striker Matt Paterson Picture: Allan Hutchings

With both teams heavily embroiled in the relegation dogfight Bradbury accepts it is a massive three points on offer.

The Hawks are looking to complete a ‘grand slam’ over the Dragons having already beaten them three times this season.

Bradbury knows however that their wins in the FA Trophy, at home in the league and in the Hampshire Senior Cup will count for little on this occasion.

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Though both teams need the points for the hosts it is almost a ‘must-win’ game.

They currently prop up the league eight points behind the Hawks who are fourth from bottom.

Another defeat will leave them marooned at the bottom and make staying up increasingly difficult.

With so much at stake it promises to be a tense and engrossing local derby.

Bradbury feels what has happened in the past will have little if no bearing on the latest contest.

‘This game is a totally different proposition and it is important that we approach it in the right manner,’ said Bradbury.

‘It is a big game for both teams.

‘They will view it as an opportunity to drag us closer to them and we obviously won’t want to get beat.

‘At the same time it is a chance for us to pull away and put a bit of daylight between us and them.

‘We are trying to catch the teams above without worrying too much about what is happening below us.

‘It is a game where we will need to show bravery on and off the ball.

‘We need our senior players to stand up and show their experience.

‘Basingstoke will work hard and we have to make sure that we match them.

‘In their situation I expect them to come at us and it is vital that we maintain our concentration.’

That concentration will need to be better than in the last league game against Hemel Hempstead which the Hawks lost in the final seconds.

After grabbing a fifth-minute stoppage-time equaliser Bradbury’s men switched off to concede the winning goal a minute later.

Apart from that setback, though, the Hawks have been in good form with just one defeat in their last six league games.

The visitors may decide to play two strikers in a bid to offer a greater threat up front.

If Bradbury decides to do that it could mean a recall for Matt Paterson to play alongside target man Shamir Mullings

Both were on target in the 2-0 Hampshire Senior Cup win in midweek.

Hawks: Young, Strugnell, Hill, Haran, Medway, Stock, Donnelly, Mitchell, Ciardini, Swallow, Mullings, Paterson, Hayter, Cummings, Thomson, Molyneaux, Blanchett