Doswell: You can’t shy away from how important this game is

Paul Doswell rates the Hawks’ top of the table National League South clash against Wealdstone as the biggest game of the season so far at Westleigh Park (3pm).

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 2:06 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th January 2020, 2:40 pm
Sam Magri is available again for Hawks' huge game against Wealdstone. Photo by Dave Haines

The third-placed Hawks are eight points behind table-topping Wealdstone but have three games in hand.

A win for the home side will not only give them a league double - following last September’s 4-1 away win - but also turn up the heat in the title race.

It is clearly a massive game for both teams.

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'It has all the makings of being a big day and definitely what you would regard as a six-pointer,' said Doswell.

'With Portsmouth playing away, we could easily get a 2,000 crowd.

'We know that Wealdstone are bringing two to three hundred fans.

'In the context of the title race it is an important game.

'If we win we put ourselves three points behind with three games in hand.

'If they win then they can open up an 11-point gap.

'You can't shy away from how vital it is.

'Though we never set out to draw any games, it is crucial that we don't lose.'

Hawks are boosted by the availability of defender Sam Magri who picked up a knock in the win at Hemel Hempstead.

It means, apart from Craig Robson and Roarie Deacon, Doswell has a full strength squad to choose from.

He will also take encouragement from the fact his side picked up one of their best results earlier in the season with that 4-1 success at Wealdstone.

Doswell accepts that, however, will count for nothing in the second meeting.

'Though it was probably our best result, it wasn't our best display,' he recalled.

'In fact we went a goal down and could have fallen further behind.

' From the point we equalised, however, we had the better of it and took our chances.'

Whilst their away form has been superb, Hawks have been less convincing at home.

Last time out they suffered a 2-1 loss to Maidstone and have only won five of their 11 Westleigh Park league matches.

Doswell knows that a repeat of the awful first 45 minutes against Maidstone will play into Wealdstone’s hands.

'We all knew that wasn't good enough and if it happens again we will be punished for it,' he said.

'I am expecting a titanic tussle against Wealdstone.

'It is a game between two good sides who like to play attacking football.

'I am convinced both teams will go all out for the win.'

While Wealdstone have a phenomenal home record - their loss to Hawks is the only one in 12 matches they have failed to win in the league - their recent away record is not good.

They have lost their last three on the road - at Slough, Oxford City and Billericay - and have only picked up two points out of the last 18 away.