Hawks focused on cup prize at Fratton Park
LEE BRADBURY has challenged the Hawks to regain their Portsmouth Senior Cup crown as they meet Petersfield Town in the final at Fratton Park tonight (7.30pm).
The Ryman League premier division champions will start as strong favourites but Bradbury insists there will be no complacency.
With the final taking place a month after the end of the season both teams may be a little rusty.
The Hawks, however, are still buzzing after gaining promotion back to Vanarama National League South and are keen to keep that winning feeling in the camp.
‘We want to regain the cup and bring a second piece of silverware to the club,’ said Bradbury.
‘It is also an opportunity for the lads to play on a Football League ground at Fratton Park.
‘Obviously it is a bit strange coming so long after the end of the season.
‘We have managed to fit in a training session and are treating it like a mini pre-season before taking another month off.
‘The competition is important to us and has served a two-fold purpose during our season.
‘We have been able to use it to give players valuable minutes when coming back from injury.
‘At the same time we have always included a number of youngsters and given them the experience of playing alongside the senior players.
‘We won’t be straying too far from that philosophy in the final.’
The Rams had a disastrous season in the Southern League central division.
But they showed their cup pedigree in the semi-finals when they beat Moneyfields.
One Hawks player keen to do well is defender Jordan Rose who is close to completing a deal for next season.
Rose arrived towards the latter part of the season to help bolster the Hawk’s defence.
Unfortunately he was plagued by injury and started a limited number of games.
Bradbury is hoping to get the defender on board for next season and believes he has much to offer.
He’s set to have an opportunity tonight to show what he can do.
The Hawks boss is keen to see him in action at Fratton Park.
He said: ‘This will be a chance for Jordan to get more minutes under his belt, he found it hard coming back from a long lay-off.
‘When he was ready he found it hard to get in because Lee Molyneaux had made that position his own.
‘The lad is a big, physical, aggressive defender who likes to attack the ball in both boxes.’
Though the Hawks go into the game with limited resources they can still field a side containing plenty of experience.
Hawks: C Searle, Woodford, Molyneaux, Rose, Tarbuck, Williams, Whittingham, Ridge, Fogden, Lewis, Rutherford, Prior, Winterburn, Bedford