Bradbury: Fixture release makes it all seem real
Lee Bradbury is excited by the start given to the Hawks in their first-ever season in the National League.
They open their campaign with a 650-mile plus round trip to Barrow and Bradbury feels it is a great fixture to have.
'It is one of our furthest trips to start with but I don't mind that,' said Bradbury.
'At least we get it out of the way early and in the summer months.
'This is followed by two tough home games against teams who made the play-offs last season.
'It gives us the opportunity to gauge ourselves against some of the better teams in the league.
'After our opening three games we should roughly know where we are at.
'With the fixtures coming out it suddenly makes us being in the National League more "real".
'It is great to look at the fixture list and see the likes of Wrexham, Leyton Orient, Hartlepool United, Barnet and Chesterfield on it.
'This is exciting for me as a manager and I know it is the same for the players.
'It is also great for chairman Derek Pope who has worked hard to achieve the National League dream.
'We also have great local derbies against Eastleigh and Aldershot to look forward to.
'Both the Eastleigh games are over the Christmas period.
'The Christmas fixtures have generally been kind to us, though, we do face a long trek to Hartlepool United three days before Christmas Day.'
Bradbury is also pleased to see the Hawks fixtures are opposite to those of Pompey.
He is hoping that Pompey fans who don't travel will visit Westleigh Park instead.
The club are offering a fantastic deal for Pompey season-ticket holders.
'Portsmouth season ticket holders can watch National League football for just Â£6,' said Bradbury.
'That is a terrific deal. It all kicks off in just four weeks time.'