Academy ace primed for first taste of Hawks action

Joe Noakes in action for the Hawks Academy. Picture: Dave Haines
Joe Noakes in action for the Hawks Academy. Picture: Dave Haines
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Joe Noakes is poised to make his Hawks debut.

The academy talent, who has recently been on loan at Horndean, has been drafted into the squad for tonight’s Hampshire Senior Cup quarter-final against Sholing at Westleigh Park (7.45pm).

Noakes recently featured in the final round of the Samsung Win a Pro Contract competition at Leyton Orient.

Although he didn’t make the final two, it was still a tremendous achievement for the youngster who Bradbury hopes to give a taste of the first-team set-up to.

‘Joe is outgrowing the youth team and we have been involving him with the senior squad,’ said Bradbury.

‘He is physically strong and ready for the next test.

‘We will drip-feed him into the first-team environment and hopefully he will get some minutes tonight.’

Bradbury may be tempted to rest some of his senior players after their 0-0 draw at Dorchester Town on a heavy Avenue Stadium pitch.

The surface cut up badly from the start and it was hard work for the players to make any headway.

There were lots of heavy legs in the changing room afterwards, and with an important league game against Basingstoke on Saturday, Bradbury may give his fringe players a run out.

Sam Pearce, Paul Hinshelwood, Stefan Bailey, Scott Jones and Steve Ramsey will all be in the frame.

Meanwhile, Ryan Woodford is expected to continue his return from injury.

Competition rules mean loan-raiders Dan Strugnell, Alex Grant and Jesse Kewley-Graham will have to sit this one out.

Bradbury, meanwhile, is wary of the threat Southern League south & west division outfit Sholing will pose.

‘If we take our eye off the ball for one second we will get punished,’ he said.

‘Sholing won 3-0 at the weekend and their threat up front – Lee Wort – grabbed a hat-trick.

‘They will be coming to us in a confident mood, so we must put in a professional performance.

‘Before I came to the club the side suffered an FA Cup exit at the hands of North Leigh, who play in the same league as Sholing.

‘So this is a yardstick to show us how far attitudes have changed.’