'It's another game of football' - Captain Joe Oastler highlights what Hawks cannot afford to do in critical Chippenham meeting

Captain Joe Oastler told his Hawks team-mates to treat their crunch National League South play-off decider clash with Chippenham the same as they would any other fixture.

By Lewis Mason
Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 8:00 am

Seventh-placed Hawks host the Bluebirds - sitting a point and place below them in eighth - knowing a final-day victory or draw at Westleigh Park this weekend will ensure they claim the last remaining play-off place instead of their opponents.

With so much riding on the contest, Oastler admitted it would be easy to become 'too hyped up by the situation'.

But Hawks are preparing to host Chippenham in superb recent form having lost just one of their past 14 league outings - a run which has seen them win six and draw the other of their previous seven matches on home soil.

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Hawks captain Joe Oastler Picture: Dave Haines

And Oastler is adamant as long as the squad stick to what has turned their stuttering season around to stand on the brink of a claiming a play-off place then that should be enough to deliver a top-seven finish.

The Hawks captain said: ‘We've given ourselves a great chance to make it on Saturday (to the play-offs), which would obviously be a real good achievement.

‘I think there's always nerves in every game you play in, especially at a team like Havant where you're expected to win most games - it's another game of football - we know what we've got to do.

‘You can get too hyped up with the situation, if we can keep our heads and do things right, I'm sure we'll be okay.

‘It's trying to keep doing the same as what we have, if you get wrapped up in the situation, that's when the nerves will kick in.

‘Our record at home has been really good recently. There's no need to change or do anything different to what we've been doing, obviously it's a big game, but we've got experienced players who have been in situations like this.

‘Hopefully we can turn up on the day, work as hard as what we have been, and get the job done.’

If Hawks are to secure the last remaining play-off place it would represent quite the turnaround, having been languishing down in 14th in the table and seven points adrift of the top-seven when their winless run was stretched to nine games following a 3-1 defeat at Concord Rangers in February.

Since beating Ebbsfleet in the fixture which followed, Paul Doswell's men have picked up 27 points from the 42 available to them in 14 games to stand on the brink of reaching the play-offs.