Hawks striker Tommy Wright could be out for four months – so former Enfield Town goal ace signs for Hawks ahead of new National League South season

Paul Doswell is hoping new striker Mo Faal can be a perfect replacement for Tommy Wright.

By Simon Carter
Thursday, 4th August 2022, 2:02 pm

The Hawks boss acted quickly to recruit the one-time Bolton Wanderers man after learning the serious extent of Wright’s injury.

Wright underwent an op early last week with Hawks hoping the surgeon could make a quick repair on what they believed was a meniscus tear. At best, Wright could have been sidelined for a fortnight.

Sadly, it was discovered that the player had a hole in his cartilage, meaning he is now on weight-bearing crutches for six weeks. ‘Tommy could be out for three months or, more likely, four months,’ rued Doswell.

Mo Faal signs for the Hawks this week. Picture by Dave Haines

‘It shows the character he had in keeping on playing despite the pain last season. It speaks volumes for him, he deserves a lot of credit.’

Faal had spent the summer hoping for an EFL return after scoring 41 goals in all competitions for Enfield Town in 2021/22.

Of those, 32 came in 42 Isthmian League Premier outings (the next level down from the National League South). Only Worthing’s Ollie Pearce, with 35, scored more league goals in the division.

That followed a return of 24 goals in 25 games in the first half of the 2019/20 season for Enfield - a record which won Faal a dream transfer to League One club Bolton.

Tommy Wright is on crutches for six weeks after an operation discovered a hole in a cartilage. Picture by Dave Haines

He only made two league appearances for the Trotters - both as a sub - before spending 2020/21 on loan in the National League at Barnet, where he netted once in six starts and 15 sub appearances.

‘As soon as we found out about Tommy, I was on the phone speaking to people I know in the game asking if they knew of any strikers available.

‘One call I made was to Rob Codner, the former Brighton player, and he told me Mo had been hoping to get a move to a league club but for whatever reason it hadn’t happened. We’re lucky to get him.

‘Sometimes it’s about being persistent, and making the right calls.’

Though he has been training with a club, Faal hasn’t played in any pre-season friendlies. ‘But that wouldn’t stop me throwing him in on Saturday, he’s an athletic lad,’ said Doswell ahead of Hawks’ NLS curtain-raiser at home to Slough Town.

Apart from Wright and Sam Magri - who is also expected to be back around November/December time - Hawks have a fully fit squad for the start of Doswell’s fourth league campaign in charge.

Goalkeeper Ross Worner has recovered from Covid and has trained this week.

As ever, Hawks’ pre-season aim is a place in the play-offs. They fell agonisingly short last term, losing 2-0 at home to Chippenham on the final day to be overtaken by the Wiltshire club for the final play-off spot.

‘The goal is the play-offs, to finish in the top seven,’ said Doswell. ‘I wouldn’t be so arrogant to say we can win it.

‘It’s looking the strongest Conference South it’s been for a long time.

‘Weymouth are looking good, the likes of Worthing and Farnborough are coming up with a winning mentality.

‘Ebbsfleet are throwing all sorts of money at it. They have 26 starting XI players, they are the clear favourites.

‘Oxford City were decent last season, Dartford have recruited well.

‘It will be hard to finish in the top seven, but that’s the minimum aim of this football club.’

Hawks were badly affected by injuries last season, particularly around late autumn and winter time.

Reflecting on what turned out to be his first full campaign as manager, the previous two having been cut short by the pandemic, Doswell said: ‘It was disappointing.

‘It showed we can’t have eight players out for eight weeks each. And it showed you can’t patch a team up with loan signings at this level and get results.

‘We had a good start and a good finish, just two defeats in 16 games. It was just the middle part where we had horrific injuries.’

Faal is one of five close season recruits who could be involved against Slough. The others are centre half Joash Nembhard - who will partner skipper Joe Oastler in central defence - winger Gianni Crichlow and strikers Jason Prior and Danny Wright.