Experienced striker Matt Tubbs has returned from a loan spell at Weymouth determined to kick-start his Hawks career.
The former Pompey front man, who started yesterday’s game against Hemel Hempsted, was Lee Bradbury’s showcase signing during the summer.
However, injury has limited his involvement with the first team this term.
While unavailable, the team have also performed well since their return to the National League South.
This has also made it difficult for the 33-year-old to break back into the team.
It has been a frustrating spell for the diminutive striker, but Tubbs insisted he’s ready to repay the faith shown in him by Bradbury.
‘My first few months with the Hawks have been hugely frustrating,’ admitted Tubbs.
‘Firstly, I injured my back at the start of pre-season.
‘An injection helped sort that problem out but in the first training session back I suffered a slight dislocation to my knee.
‘Up until now I have had a relatively injury-free career.
‘So to get two injuries in quick succession was so frustrating.
‘It meant that I missed a lot of pre-season, which put me behind everyone else.
‘I approached the manager about going out on loan for a spell because I was finding it hard to get minutes on the pitch.
‘He was prepared to let me do that which was brilliant.
‘At Weymouth I was able to get six or seven games in and it makes all the difference.
‘It helped improve my fitness levels, touch and reading the game.
‘You can do as many laps around the block but there is no substitute for match experience.
‘My spell at Weymouth was invaluable and I feel ready to take my chance when it comes along.
‘No-one has a divine right to walk into the team.’
It is a long season and someone of Tubbs’ quality will almost certainly play a key role at some stage in the campaign.
He could also be the perfect foil for target man Jason Prior.
Bradbury appreciates the professionalism of his striker.
‘Matt has got a fantastic attitude,’ said the Hawks boss.
‘He came to me asking to go and play games and has come back in a far better place.
‘Matt is bright as a button and one of those players who comes alive in and around the box.
‘His track record at this level is fantastic – he has scored goals wherever he has been.’