Leader Josh Huggins shows value of squad strength for Havant & Waterlooville

Josh Huggins. Picture: Neil Marshall (180704-142)
Josh Huggins. Picture: Neil Marshall (180704-142)
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Josh Huggins showed during the week just how important squad players can be in the Hawks bid to stay in the Vanarama National League.

After the disappointing defeat at Maidstone United manager Lee Bradbury rang the changes for the visit of Dagenham & Redbridge.

This included bringing in Huggins at right-back and the 28-year-old responded with an outstanding display.

Along with the other players drafted in, Ed Harris, Chris Paul and Mike Carter, Huggins helped the Hawks to a much-needed 3-0 win.

Bradbury recognises the importance of having players of Huggins’ ilk in producing an excellent team spirit.

The Hawks manager said: ‘Josh deserved his chance because he has been very patient.

‘He came back to the club last year because he wasn’t enjoying his football where he was.

‘At the start he did it off his own back, paying his own way because he just wanted to be around a professional outfit.

‘He earned himself a deal and a place in the team.

‘Josh is an infectious character and when he plays it means everything to him.

‘Against Dagenham he was aggressive in the tackle and solid as a rock.

‘He is good in the air and better on the ball than sometimes he is given credit for.

‘On the pitch he is very vocal and a great leader.’

The Hawks showed against Dagenham all the fighting qualities they are going to need between now and the end of the season.

They closed the gap on Dover Athletic to two points.

More and more it is looking like a battle between the two sides to avoid the final relegation spot.

Bradbury knows the Hawks can’t afford any more below-par performances like the one produced in Kent.

The Hawks were off the pace and never looked like getting anything in a game they had high hopes of winning.

Bradbury made the necessary changes and his bravery paid off.

All the players brought in made an important contribution.

In the eyes of Bradbury bravery is the main quality needed to survive.

The Hawks boss added: ‘We have to be prepared to throw the kitchen sink at every game.

‘The lapse at Maidstone hopefully came at the right time. Anything less than the effort we put in against Dagenham won’t be acceptable.’

The Hawks are in Hampshire Senior Cup action on Tuesday night at Sholing (7.45pm).

A tough semi-final tie is expected against the hosts who are unbeaten in the Wessex League premier division.

Next Saturday’s league game at Maidenhead United has been moved to the following Tuesday (7.45pm).

The home side have three players on international duty with Montserrat under-20s.