Hawks must regain their focus at Grays

LEE BRADBURY is calling for a reaction from his Hawks players to get their Ryman League premier division title bid back on track.

Friday, 17th March 2017, 6:45 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:37 am
Alfie Rutherford. Picture: Habibur Rahman

The Hawks visit bottom-of-the-league Grays Athletic and will need to improve tomorrow (3pm).

A careless midweek defeat at Harrow Borough toppled the team from the top spot.

With nine games remaining it is starting to look more and more like a two-horse race between the Hawks and Bognor for the title.

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There is little margin for error as the two teams battle for the one automatic promotion spot.

Both clubs are keen to avoid the play-offs, particularly the Rocks who lost out in them last season.

From day one of the season the expectations have been on Bradbury to lead the Hawks back to the Vanarama National League South at the first attempt.

He knows they cannot afford another disappointing result at Grays.

‘We were sloppy at Harrow and got punished for it,’ said Bradbury.

‘It was hugely disappointing.

‘We had enough chances in the first half and at the start of the second to have been out of sight.

‘Harrow weren’t in the game until they scored their first goal.

‘The fact it came from our mistake only made it worse.

‘In the end we lost a game we should have won comfortably.

‘That has happened a few times this season because we haven’t been ruthless enough in both penalty areas.

‘We were looking like we had sorted that out but fell back into it.

‘I am expecting a reaction from the players and know that they will produce it.’

Grays host games at Aveley. Bradbury’s team won there in the FA Cup last season but the playing surface left much to be desired.

That isn’t likely to improve, particularly as the hosts intend to play an under 16 game on it immediately beforehand.

‘Obviously we are not happy about that,’ said Bradbury.

‘We just have to make sure we deal with it and play our football in the right areas.’

Newly-arrived defender Jordan Rose is still struggling with a calf injury and remains a doubt.

There are also concerns over striker Alfie Rutherford who took a knock and had to come off at half-time in the defeat to Harrow.

Defender Dan Strugnell is about one week away from getting back in contention.

‘Grays are another club fighting for their lives so we can expect them to be a handful,’ said Bradbury.

‘They need to pretty much win all their games to stay up.

‘We have to be prepared to go there and do the business.’

Hawks: Young, Woodford, Harris, Robinson, Williams, Stock, Lewis, Fogden, Paterson, Prior, Tarbuck, Molyneaux, Carter, Barker, Swallow, Rutherford, Hayter, Rose