Former Fulham and Portsmouth defender Josh Passley's versatility could make him crucial Hawks addition
Manager Paul Doswell revealed Josh Passley's positional flexibility was a key factor behind bringing him to Hawks on a two-year deal.
The former Fulham and Pompey full-back has opted to drop down to the National League South after leaving fifth tier side Dover.
Doswell admitted he's long been an admirer of Passley and is delighted to have landed the defender.
The 26-year-old was mainly utilised on the right of a back five across his four-year stay at Dover but he can also play on the left-hand side in either full-back or wing-back roles.
Passley, who made 12 appearances in a brief Pompey loan spell in 2015, will provide competition for right-back Benny Read, who will remain sidelined for the start of the new season after undergoing a shoulder operation.
But Doswell believes his ability to play in multiple roles and his higher level experience could make Passley a key summer addition.
He explained: ‘What we’re looking for in our signings is that versatility.
‘I’ve known Josh for the past three or four years, I’ve always rated him, he’s always played well in the games I’ve seen him and he’s got great pace. At 26, he’s got good experience of having four seasons at National League level.
‘We’re looking at being able to play more than just one way. Certainly, I think Josh is a right wing-back by trade, he’s played in a back five for Dover for a long time; of course, on the left-hand side of that we’ve got George McLennan who’s used to playing wing-back as well.
‘It does give you an opportunity to open up the availability of systems to you.’
Passley racked up 103 appearances during his time at Dover after arriving in July 2017.
But his last appearance for the club came in a Boxing Day National League defeat to Dagenham & Redbridge - a game in which he was sent off.
Passley, along with his Dover team-mates, have been forced to sit back and watch how the season has unfolded with the club claiming they were unable to continue playing because of the financial constraints brought on by the pandemic.
But Doswell says it means he is just getting a player even hungrier to get back out on the pitch.
He said: 'He’s got good pedigree. He’s someone who, touch wood, tends to play 40 games per season as well.
‘He literally couldn’t this year because of the pandemic and because of Dover’s situation.
‘He’s missed football and one of the things I’ve been speaking to him about is the fact he can’t wait to get back here in June, get his boots on and start playing.
‘All players this year who haven’t been able to play have missed football so much and it probably just gets you that hunger back again for the game.’