‘Every game is massive’ admits Hawks boss Doswell ahead of Maidstone visit in the National League South

Paul Doswell is predicting an exciting second half of the season as the Hawks aim to chase down National League South leaders Wealdstone.

Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 1:32 pm
Sam Magri, left, was recalled by Paul Doswell for Hawks' New Year's Day win at Weymouth. Photo by Dave Haines

The third-placed Hawks are eight points behind the leaders with two games in hand.

Another three points against Maidstone United at Westleigh Park tomorrow (3pm) will increase the pressure on the teams above them.

Wealdstone are also due to visit Hawks on January 18.

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Two outstanding away wins at Hungerford and Weymouth over the holiday period has boosted the Hawks’ confidence.

Doswell believes the fight for promotion will make compelling viewing.

'We have put ourselves into a great position,' he declared.

'If someone at offered us this at the start of the season we would have snapped their hand off.

'This is despite suffering a spate of injuries to key players at times.

'We had a new squad and a lot of changes were being made behind the scenes.

'So far we have done our bit by picking up over two points a game.

'Wealdstone have also set a great pace with a remarkable 50 points from 21 games.

'Our aim is to keep chasing them down.

'I am convinced that we can make the play-offs and will try to rein Wealdstone in.

'The situation means that every game is massive for us

'We have entered a very busy period of nine games this month.

'At the moment we are in a good place with the majority of our squad available.'

Doswell has shown in recent games that he isn't afraid to ring the changes.

He was hugely disappointed with the three goals conceded in the draw at Braintree and radically changed three of his back four - giving recalls to Simon Walton, Joe Cook and Benny Read - at Hungerford

This produced the required result, but Doswell didn’t keep a winning side for the trip to Weymouth.

He refused to rest on his laurels, changed his formation again and brought ex-Pompey centre half Sam Magri back into the starting XI with Read back on the bench.

Doswell is not only an experienced manager, but also a very astute one.

It won't be a surprise if he adapts his line-up again against Maidstone.

The two sides drew 2-2 at the Gallagher Stadium earlier in the season - Hawks conceding a last minute leveller.

Doswell is hoping for another bumper crowd to cheer his side on.

'We had a very good game with Maidstone at their place,' he said.

'They will be there or thereabouts challenging for the play-offs.

'We have attracted a few hundred Portsmouth supporters this season when their side has been away.

'It does make such a big difference to the team having a big crowd behind them.

'This is another big game and hopefully the same will happen again.'