Havant & Waterlooville boss vows to take FA Trophy tie at Dover seriouslyÂ

Lee Bradbury insists the Hawks won't be ringing the changes for their FA Trophy first-round tie at Dover Athletic on Saturday (3pm).

Thursday, 13th December 2018, 2:37 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 8:26 am
Former Hawks striker Alfie Pavey could feature against his former side for Dover Athletic. Picture: Keith Woodland

In previous years, a number of National League clubs have used the competition as an opportunity to rest players in the build-up to the festive period. 

Bradbury, however, refuses to regard the Trophy as a hindrance to his side's league campaign. 

The boss believes going on a cup run can have a positive effect on the Hawks' battle for survival. 

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

He said: '˜I will be playing the strongest team available to go out and win the game.

'˜It is a competition that we will be taking seriously.

'˜For the players, it is the best opportunity they will ever have of playing in a final at Wembley.

'˜In 2014, we suffered the disappointment of losing in the semi-finals.

'˜Falling at the final hurdle was tough to take at the time. All the time we are in the competition we must try to go one further. 

'˜It is also an opportunity to bring extra finances into the club.'

This stage is the latest the Westleigh Park outfit have entered the competition '“ but they've been handed a tough draw.

The Hawks travel to a fellow National League side and suffered a defeat at Dover earlier this season. 

Bradbury's men led 3-1 entering the final stages but crumbled to a 4-3 defeat. 

The Whites will also have Alfie Pavey in their ranks. The striker departed Westleigh Park for the Crabble Athletic Ground last month.

Dover sit two places behind the Hawks in the National League and the boss believes the tie will be a barometer of how much his troops have progressed.

Bradbury added: '˜Dover is never an easy place to go and can be a pretty hostile environment.

'˜We know we should have won the league game against them.

'˜It will be good to go there and reverse that result this time around.

'˜Both teams have come a long way since that game.

'˜Dover look as though they have turned a corner by taking 10 points from their past four league games.

'˜They are an in-form team but we have a point to prove after last time. We need to take our home form into the away games.

'˜This will give us a good indication of where we are at because they are right behind us in the league.'

The visitors are still struggling with a number of injury problems.

Experienced-defender Paul Robinson had a scan this week after picking up a knee injury in last Saturday's 2-1 win over Braintree.

Dan Strugnell is another doubt and will face a late fitness test.

Long-term casualty Wes Fogden is coming along nicely but the visit to Dover may be a bit too soon for his return.

Meanwhile, Mike Carter is sidelined for three months after undergoing an ankle operation.