Bradbury: Time to end Hampshire Senior Cup final misery

James Haran. Picture: Mick Young
James Haran. Picture: Mick Young
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THE HAWKS can give a bit of gloss to their difficult season by beating Winchester City in tonight’s Hampshire Senior Cup final at St Mary’s Stadium (7.45pm).

Surprisingly it is a competition the Hawks have never won.

And manager Lee Bradbury is keen to change that.

They have been in the final on three previous occasions and lost each time.

In 2001 Andover beat them 2-0 at the Dell.

A year later Aldershot came out on top 3-1 at St Mary’s.

Two seasons ago Bradbury was in charge as the Hawks suffered a 3-2 extra-time defeat at the hands of Basingstoke Town at Fratton Park.

The Hawks boss now wants to put the disappointment of that evening behind him at the home of Southampton tonight.

He believes lifting the trophy can have a positive impact on their National League South relegation battle.

‘We will be going to St Marys to win it, though at the same time we have to keep one eye on our four remaining league games,’ said Bradbury.

‘The team I select will be good enough to win the game.

‘We remember the disappointment of losing in the final minute of extra-time against Basingstoke in our last final.

‘That is something we would like to put right.

‘It is important we get back to winning ways after our last three games.

‘We dominated in all three but ended up coming away with just one point when we could have won them all.’

Winchester City play in the South-West division of the Southern League, two levels below the Hawks and are contenders for the play-off places.

Bradbury recognises they will be a tough proposition for his team and they won’t be able to to take them likely.

Striker Warren Bentley, has scored more than 55 goals this season.

He has clever movement around the area and an eye for goal.

The Hawks defence, which has looked vulnerable in recent games, will need to be on their mettle.

Bradbury is hoping his team can do the job and lift the trophy to reward the supporters who have backed the club while they have struggled for form this season.

‘Winchester are a good side with a number of experienced players,’ said Bradbury.

‘We know all about the threat of Bentley and we will need to keep him quiet.

‘More than anything we want to win the cup for our fans who have stuck patiently with us this season.

‘It would be nice to give them something to cheer about.

‘A clean sheet and a win will send us into the St Albans game in a good frame of mind.’

Bradbury is hoping that James Haran will return after injury.

And fellow defender Dan Strugnell will face a late fitness test before it is decided whether he can be involved tonight.

HAWKS: Young, Molyneaux, Hill, Robinson, Medway, Stock, Donnelly, Barker, Paterson, Hayter, Barker, Cummings, Dutton, Lewis, Ciardini, Mitchell, Mullings, Strugnell, Haran