Newton and McLennan to miss Bognor friendly –but Green set for Hawks debut

Joe NewtonJoe Newton
Joe Newton
Hawks will be without left-sided duo Joe Newton and George McLennan for their pre-season friendly with Bognor Regis Town tomorrow.

But they will welcome back summer signing Michael Green for the visit of Jack Pearce's Rocks to Westleigh Park.

Former Coventry under-23s player Newton has not trained all week with his ankle still bruised following a heavy tackle from Haji Mnoga in Hawks’ friendly with Pompey last weekend.

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Fortunately, he has not sustained ligament damage but will be rested for the visit of Bognor before returning to training next week.

Another absentee will be versatile left-sided player McLennan, who has remained away from the squad this week after missing the Pompey friendly due to personal reasons.

But Hawks boss Paul Doswell is set to welcome back Green, who joined the club earlier this summer from National League side Eastleigh.

He was missing from the squad that took on Danny Cowley's Blues but is now back and Doswell is keen to hand him at least an hour run-out against Bognor.

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The Hawks boss said: 'Joe has been struggling a bit with his ankle from that tackle on Saturday.

‘It’s not ligaments, which is good news, it’s just really bruised and swollen. The swelling has almost gone but he hasn’t trained this week, we’ve let him stay at home. The only thing he can do for it is ice it at the moment. He’ll be back in training next week.

‘Michael Green comes back in having missed last Saturday because he was best man at a wedding.

‘This will be his first game at home, he’ll start and probably get an hour or 70 minutes under his belt.

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‘I was really pleased with the first half against Portsmouth because we had to do a lot of running off the ball because they were decent.

‘I’ve seen in the first two-and-a-half weeks it’s a good group, you can see that.

‘With the games coming up against Bognor, Salisbury and a Bournemouth XI, they’re three games, realistically, where we should see more of the ball and a bit more from us.'

Longer term absentees Benny Read and Godfrey Poku are also making good progress as they battle to return to full fitness.

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Defender Read has resumed running with the team but is unable to take part in contract training until at least September after a shoulder operation.

Doswell revealed midfielder Poku is progressing well following his ACL injury last season.

But he is looking at a date after Christmas before returning to training.

The boss said: ‘Benny can do all the running with the players, which he’s doing, but he can’t do any contact as it’s like cement that’s been put in his shoulder blade and you’ve got to wait six weeks for it to set.

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‘We’ve got to be very, very careful with him because if we go in too early and he does it again he’ll be out for the season.

‘Godfrey is actually making really good progress with his knee but again, realistically, we don’t expect to see him until after Christmas, January or February, back on the pitch training.'