The Hawks are on a revenge mission as they face Baffins Milton Rovers in the quarter-finals of the Portsmouth Senior Cup at the Kendall Stadium tonight (7.45pm).
It is a repeat of last season’s final when the now Wessex division one side ran out 3-1 winners at Wicor Rec.
The victory was well deserved as Baffins proved too strong physically for the youthful Hawks team that was selected.
After falling behind to an early Liam Kimber strike, Louis Bell’s side levelled quickly through a Jake Knight own goal.
Jamie Musselwhite then put Baffins ahead before the break, before Chaz Gardiner sealed their success with a second-half goal.
Now Hawks manager Lee Bradbury would love to turn the tables on their hosts.
At the same time, though, he intends to stick to his principles of fielding a mixed side of youngsters and senior players.
‘The whole idea when we entered the competition was mainly to use it for developing the youngsters,’ said Bradbury.
‘We could also use it for squad players who maybe weren’t getting minutes in the senior side or returning from injury. That principle hasn’t changed.
‘Our priority this season has always been winning promotion back to the National League South.
‘We won’t be taking too many risks with that.
‘It is a question of getting a right balance.
‘I will be fielding a mixed side but it will still be a very competitive one.
‘We have got some good young footballers at the club and this will provide them with a good physical test.
‘Some of them need to learn how to handle themselves in men’s football.
‘They have to show that they won’t allow themselves to be pushed around and bullied on the pitch.’
The Hawks are likely to recall some of their youngsters out on loan at other clubs, including Marley Ridge, Harry Medway and Alfy Whittingham.
Some of the substitutes from the victory at Staines at the weekend may also get a run out.
These include Bradley Tarbuck, Matt Paterson, Ben Swallow, George Barker and Ethan Miller.
Last season Baffins boss Bell was delighted to see his side lift the trophy, but he was disappointed the final wasn’t played at Fratton Park.
‘I am hoping that this year’s final is back at Fratton Park whoever gets there,’ he said.
‘They play the final of the Southampton Senior Cup at St Mary’s so I don’t see why ours can’t be at Fratton Park.
‘Most of the local players are Pompey fans and it would give them a thrill to play on their pitch. It makes for a great end-of-season spectacle.’