Blow for Gale’s Hawks

Hawks-Ollie Palmer in action ''' Hawks vs Farnborough 29th Oct 2011 ' Dave Haines (Photo credit should read Picture/s by Dave Haines)
Hawks-Ollie Palmer in action ''' Hawks vs Farnborough 29th Oct 2011 ' Dave Haines (Photo credit should read Picture/s by Dave Haines)
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Gosport have taken a lift from Craig McAllister's leadership. Picture: Keith Woodland

Gosport encouraged ahead of Redditch trip

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The Hawks were left disappointed as their eagerly-anticipated New Year’s Day derby at Eastleigh fell victim to the heavy rainfall.

Both teams were ready to start their pre-match preparations, when referee Mark Pottage called the game off 50 minutes before kick-off.

The official had little choice and only needed three attempts to kick the ball on the saturated pitch before making his decision.

One boost for the Hawks, though, is that young striker Ollie Palmer should be available when the match is played later this month.

Manager Shaun Gale refused to comment on Palmer’s absence yesterday.

It was rumoured that the player had jetted out of Gatwick for a two-week family holiday after Christmas.

‘I’ll have a conversation regarding Ollie Palmer later in the week,’ said Gale.

‘It is massively disappointing not to play.

‘The players have prepared, made sacrifices and worked hard all week but you can’t do anything about the elements.

‘When we got to Eastleigh, the pitch, though damp, was okay and more than playable.

‘But the non-stop rain saw it deteriorate.

‘It is a shame because we were ready and looking forward to it.

‘New Year’s Day is a big day for the fans and a big crowd was expected.

‘I am sure Eastleigh are just as disappointed.’

Gale believes his side have plenty to play for in the second half of the season and won’t write off their chances of making a late bid for the play-offs.

They have a lot to do to climb the table from their lowly position but the boss is convinced the quality is there to turn their fortunes around.

With the next two games at home against Dartford and Maidenhead, the Hawks have the ideal opportunity to gather some momentum.

‘Recently, we have been more consistent and that will need to continue,’ said Gale.

‘We have done better, ground out results and, with a bit better finishing, would have won more matches.

‘It has been difficult at times, without making excuses, with injuries and suspensions.

‘Despite this, the second half of the season is an opportunity to put a decent amount of points on the board and make a challenge for the play-offs.

‘I still believe, if we can get ourselves on a run, we are more than capable of getting up there.

‘There are plenty of points to play for and we need to win three or four on the bounce.’

n In the Hampshire Senior Cup quarter-finals, the Hawks have been handed a home draw against Southern League Sholing – a repeat of their FA Cup tie earlier this season.