Bradbury ready for Cup battle at Maidenhead

Alfie Rutherford is back from injury to face Maidenstone. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Alfie Rutherford is back from injury to face Maidenstone. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Have your say

Lee Bradbury is hoping the 10th anniversary of the Hawks’ greatest-ever FA Cup run can inspire his side to further glory.

The Westleigh Park outfit face a tough fourth qualifying round tie against National League side Maidenhead United at York Road tomorrow (3pm).

Alan Devonshire’s troops won promotion from National League South last season and are currently 12th in the fifth tier.

They will start as firm favourites but the Hawks know all about cup upsets.

It’s a decade since they reached the fourth-round proper and took to the stage at Anfield against Premier League giants Liverpool.

That season the Hawks won at York City, Notts County and held Swansea City to a 1-1 draw in Wales, before beating them in a replay at Westleigh Park.

Bradbury believes his team will need to find similar inspiration if they are to bring more Cup fever to the club.

He said: ‘Our FA Cup record is something the club is very proud of.

‘Doing well in the competition can make a big difference to clubs like us.

‘If we are to go on this season then we must look to go and try to cause an upset.

‘Going to Maidenhead is a tough ask because they are a good side.

‘It is a free hit for us, though, because they will be starting the tie as firm favourites.

‘All the pressure will be on them and it is up to us to try and exploit that.’

Bradbury has to do without Brian Stock, who had knee surgery this week.

The operation went well for the experienced midfielder and he is expected to be out for the at least five weeks.

Andreas Robinson has done well replacing Stock for the past few games and Bradbury also has the battling qualities of Mike Carter available.

Up front the visitors are boosted by the return of George Barker and Alfie Rutherford from injury.

But Theo Widdrington is ruled out as parent club Pompey won’t allow him to be cup-tied.

The Hawks will take encouragement from their excellent away record this season, having been beaten just once on the road.

Defensively, they have been sound, but know will need to be at their best again to defeat Maidenhead.

‘Our opponent possess the threat of a long throw from both sides,’ Bradbury added.

‘We will have to make sure we stand up to that and match their work-rate.

‘Our aim is to contain them and, 
at the same time, pose a threat ourselves.

‘It will be a case of having to be brave, but I know my players will be that. If we do, then we have a chance of making the next round.

Hawks: Young, Rose, Woodford, Harris, Williams, Fogden, Lewis, Robinson, Prior, Tarbuck, Carter, Walker-Harris, Barker, Rutherford, Strugnell, Molyneaux