Bradbury wants Hawks to keep it clean

Matt Paterson has been in fine goalscoring form but the Hawks have been letting too many in recently    Picture: Mick Young
Matt Paterson has been in fine goalscoring form but the Hawks have been letting too many in recently Picture: Mick Young
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Lee Bradbury is challenging the Hawks to keep a clean sheet in their Ryman League premier division encounter against Harlow Town at Westleigh Park tomorrow (3pm).

The manager has seen his side concede 12 goals in their last three games.

At the same time, the Hawks have not been beaten in the league since the first day of the season and are currently second in the table.

They also go into the game boasting an unbeaten home record.

The home side are without rugged defender Lee Molyneaux, who starts a three-match suspension following his sending off in the FA Cup tie at Ebbsfleet United.

His presence will be missed against a big, strong, physical Harlow side.

For Bradbury, the priority is getting back to the defensive solidity that has gone missing recently.

‘Things have slipped defensively in our last few games,’ he said.

‘It is an area we need to revisit and make sure we get organised again.

‘At Burgess Hill, we were vulnerable at set pieces.

‘It was disappointing that we tended to win the first ball but didn’t pick up enough of the second balls and were punished for it.

‘We were solid early in the season and have to get back to that.

‘The team will need to put their bodies on the line and stick their heads in where it hurts.

‘Harlow are probably the biggest team in our league with seven 6ft2in players in their line-up.

‘They possess a long throw-in and will launch the ball into our area.

‘A lot of teams in this league are like that and it is important we deal with it week in, week out.’

With Molyneaux ruled out, it’s likely Ed Harris will continue alongside Ryan Woodford in the centre of defence.

It has not been easy for Harris coming back after missing the whole of last season through injury.

He has endured a stop-start return so far this term.

If Bradbury decides Harris needs a rest, he also has the option of moving Andreas Robinson back into defence.

The latter looked very assured in that position when he played there at the start of the season.

Scoring goals hasn’t been a problem for the Hawks and will almost certainly revert to a two-man strike force of Jason Prior and Matt Paterson.

Paterson and Ben Swallow went on as second-half substitutes at Burgess Hill and turned the game around.

Bradbury added: ‘Matt Paterson has the knack of scoring goals at the moment – him and Jason Prior are working well together.

‘You have to feel a little for the other two lads, James Hayter and Alfie Rutherford, who they are keeping out.

‘They are both good players and get right behind the team.’

Hawks: Young, Strugnell, Harris, Woodford, Williams, Stock, Robinson, Lewis, Fogden, Barker, Swallow, Paterson, Prior, Hayter, Rutherford, Medway, Tarbuck