Improved Hawks out to make Mariners amends

Dan Strugnell believes the Hawks can cause an FA Trophy upset at Grimsby tomorrow                 Picture: Sarah Standing
Dan Strugnell believes the Hawks can cause an FA Trophy upset at Grimsby tomorrow Picture: Sarah Standing
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Defender Dan Strugnell insists the Hawks should not be written off ahead of their daunting FA Trophy trip to Grimsby Town (3pm).

Strugnell is the only survivor from the Hawks’ last Trophy visit to the Mariners three seasons ago.

Then, the full-back was on loan from AFC Bournemouth and watched from the sidelines as a substitute.

The Hawks found themselves on the wrong end of a 4-1 thumping after conceding three goals in the opening half-hour.

Strugnell is convinced there won’t be a repeat this time around.

‘It was a very difficult day for us with Grimsby putting the game to bed early,’ said Strugnell.

‘They were a big powerful unit and we had a youngish team out.

‘I think our present team is far better equipped and contains a bit more experience.

‘Though Grimsby will obviously start as favourites there is a confidence in our squad we can go there and get a result.

‘We have already beaten Forest Green Rovers and Welling United from the National League.

‘All the pressure will be on our hosts and we go there with nothing to fear.

‘Our aim has to be to try and stay in the game as long as possible.

‘If we can do that there is every chance we can snatch something.

‘The first goal will be very important and it is crucial we don’t fall behind.’

If the Hawks are to surprise the National League promotion chasers Strugnell accepts they will need to raise their game.

The visitors cannot afford another slow start which has plagued them in recent games.

At Maidenhead the Hawks conceded two goals early on before fighting back to secure a 2-2 draw.

It was the same again at AFC Portchester in midweek in the Hampshire Senior Cup where the Hawks sneaked through on penalties.

Strugnell knows they cannot afford to give Grimsby such a luxury.

‘We have nothing to lose and must approach the game in a positive manner,’ he said.

‘Our away form hasn’t been great but we have to be prepared to go there and battle.’

If the Hawks are to snatch a goal Strugnell could quite easily provide it.

There is nothing the 23-year-old likes more than to move up field for free-kicks and corners.

He has scored seven goals already and is aiming to notch double figures by the end of the season.

The visitors are waiting on the fitness of two midfield players.

Theo Lewis was forced off at Maidenhead with an injury and Nic Ciardini took a knock late on at Portchester.

James Hayter has recovered from illness and appeared as a substitute in midweek.
HAwks: Young, Strugnell, Hill, Whatmough, Cummings, Stock, Donnelly, Lewis, Swallow, Mullings, Paterson, Hayter, Medway, Molyneaux, Dutton, Morgan, Thomson, Clifton