Doswell ‘excited’ by Havant & Waterlooville’s trip to National League South leaders Dartford

Paul Doswell insists Hawks are excited by the prospect of taking on National League South leaders Dartford at Princes Park (3pm).

Thursday, 29th October 2020, 2:24 pm
Dartford shattered Hawks' National League South play-off dream in July with a 2-1 win at Westleigh Park. Photo by Dave Haines

There is also the small matter of looking to avenge last season's play-off semi-final defeat by the Kent club.

The two sides are rated amongst the promotion favourites again this season and have started well.

'It is a game between two of the better teams in our league,' said Doswell.

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'They have a very good home record and we haven't been beaten away from home for a very long time.

'I am expecting a very good game and we are excited about it.

'They have a good manager in Steve King and both teams will be well organised.

'Our away record is good because teams tend to come at us more when they are at home.

'When they do that it gives us more space to show our quality going forward.

'This will be one of our toughest tests.'

Hawks can boast an unbeaten start to the current campaign in both league and FA Cup.

Doswell believes confidence can play a huge part in continuing their success.

He rebuilt his squad during pre-season and is pleased with the way they have gelled.

'There is a good buzz in the camp at the moment and a good team spirit,' he explained.

'That is something that you can't buy.

'Having five of our younger players all living in the same house helps.

'You can see it at training when players don't rush off at the end.

'One of the best things we have done is install a table tennis table.

'Players stay and play and have great fun together.'

Dartford climbed to the top on Tuesday with a 2-1 win at Chippenham Town.

Hawks have had few problems scoring this season, but Dartford have the best defensive record in the division.

Keeper Craig King - signed from Oxford City in the summer - started the league season with three clean sheets prior to conceding at Chippenham.

At the other end, new striker Moussa Bakayoko celebrated his debut with a goal at Hardenhuish Park.

Bakayoko had been playing for Derry City in the League of Ireland Premier Division.

Both sides have broken each other’s hearts in recent times with Hawks claiming the National South title on the final day of 2017/2018, pipping Dartford by virtue of a plus three better goal difference, and the Darts winning the 2019/20 play-off semi-final clash in July.

Dartford have had the upper hand in this fixture, going eight unbeaten against Hawks. The teams drew 1-1 in Kent in August 2019 with the return game at Westleigh Park falling victim due to the pandemic.

The Hawks travel with a fully fit squad to choose from and confidence high after last week’s 3-0 FA Cup fourth qualifying round win at divisional rivals Bath City.