Gale calls for an end to Christmas gifts

THIS WEEK IN 1970: Football screen in Havant Park move

Shaun Gale called on the Hawks to stop gifting goals to their opposition and warned: Christmas is over.

Three points are of paramount importance for his side as they look to complete a league double over Hampton & Richmond Borough at West Leigh Park tomorrow (3pm).

The Hawks desperately need to return to winning ways after enduring a disappointing Christmas and new year.

They have picked up just one point from their past four matches and are in danger of falling further behind the leading pack.

Home form has been inconsistent but Gale is hoping 2011 will see his side impose themselves more at West Leigh Park.

'Maybe now that Christmas is over, my players won't feel the need to gift goals to the opposition any longer,' said the boss.

'In recent games we have been guilty of giving far too many presents away.

'We know we cannot continue losing football matches and expect to stay in the mix for the play-offs.

'This weekend is more about getting three points than the manner in which it is achieved.

'Yes, we would love to put on a show for the fans but the result is more important at the moment.

'We need to get back to winning ways and get ourselves on a run.'

The latest defeat at local rivals Eastleigh was particularly frustrating for Gale, who came away scratching his head as to how his side lost.

Gale feels his team dominated – particularly in the first half – only to give away silly goals.

'We made Eastleigh look very ordinary at times,' he said.

The Hawks have shipped 11 goals in the past four games and can't afford to remain so generous.

The key for Gale, though, is whether he can get his key players out on the pitch as injuries bite deep into his limited squad.

Experienced midfielders Ian Selley (calf) and Sammy Igoe (hamstring) are both out.

There is also a huge doubt over powerful striker Mustafa Tiryaki, who has scored in each of the past three games.

The Turkish hitman failed to come out for the second half against Eastleigh after suffering a severe dead-leg and has been battling with a back problem.

The loss of such experienced and influential players continues to hamper Gale and his coaches.

'We lack depth and it is no good pretending that we don't,' he admitted.

'It is a massive stumbling block but we have to accept it is where we are.

'Monday's defeat at Eastleigh hurt the players, not because of who we lost to but the manner of the defeat.

'One defeat hasn't ended our season, though, and we can't let it affect us.

'We have somewhere in the region of 25 games left so there is still plenty to play for.

'One thing we won't do is throw the towel in and use the problems as an excuse.

'Our focus now, though, is Hampton & Richmond Borough, who will give us another big, physical test.

'They like to get the ball from back to front quickly and we will need to be on our mettle to deal with them.

'It might need to be ugly but three points are a priority.'