Hawks’ league pain is boss’ priority

Lee Bradbury, right, with assistant Shaun Gayle
Lee Bradbury, right, with assistant Shaun Gayle
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Lee Bradbury has admitted the Hawks’ Portsmouth Senior Cup semi-final against Gosport Borough at Westleigh Park tonight (7.45pm) isn’t his priority.

The beleaguered manager has plenty to think about after his side’s 6-0 humiliation at St Albans City at the weekend.

He now has just three games in which to ensure the Hawks maintain their Vanarama National League South status.

Survival in the league is Bradbury’s prime concern ahead of a nail-biting final fortnight to the season.

‘In the bigger scheme of things, the Portsmouth Senior Cup game is of no consequence,’ said the manager.

‘I would gladly swap winning the cup again for three league points.

‘We cannot allow ourselves to be side-tracked from our main task in hand, which is staying in National League South.

‘I will need to put a lot of thought into what sort of team I will put out tonight.

‘The most important thing will be to come through it injury-free.’

Bradbury faces a huge job lifting his team after their performance at St Albans which left them second from bottom in the league table.

It was the manner of the defeat that was most concerning for the Hawks boss.

Not for the first time this season, once things started to go against them the side crumbled in spectacular fashion.

Before the game Bradbury had called for bravery and for his players to be prepared to put their bodies on the line.

Both were conspicuous by their absence, leaving the former Pompey striker distraught and angry at the end of the game.

If the Hawks are to survive they will need to show far more bottle than that displayed at Clarence Park.

Under normal circumstances, the chance to put one over their main rivals would be uppermost in the mind.

But circumstances at the present time are different.

Bradbury, naturally, already has his eyes firmly focused on the next league game – a tricky trip to Concord Rangers.

He needs to find a way of improving upon the Hawks’ appalling away record which has seen them win only once on the road this season.

After the trip to Canvey Island, the side finish with two home games in the space of 48 hours.

On the Thursday evening they host play-off-chasing Truro City in a re-arranged game and on the final day of the season host fellow relegation-battlers Weston-super-Mare at Westleigh Park.

More and more, it is looking as though the Hawks’ fate could be decided on a nerve-shredding final day.

In that context Bradbury might be forgiven for feeling the Portsmouth Senior Cup is of little importance.

The Hawks are offering free admittance for tonight’s game as a reward for the patience of their fans.

Hawks: Searle, Young, Medway, Dutton, Molyneaux, Cummings, Ciardini, Donnelly, Swallow, Barker, Paterson, Mullings, Hayter, Kimber, Robinson, Thomson, Hill