HAWKS BOSS Lee Bradbury admitted he was delighted after sealing a deal for out-of-contract Gosport Borough striker Matt Paterson.
The Westleigh Park side completed the move yesterday morning, after agreeing personal terms with the front man who scored 26 goals for Borough last season.
The 26-year-old was attracting a lot of attention, most notably from Ebbsfleet United, following his goal exploits for Alex Pike’s side.
And Bradbury believes it was the ambitions at the Westleigh Park club which sealed the deal.
Last term, the Hawks’ bid for the play-offs was almost derailed by a lack of consistency from their strikers.
In the end they had to rely on Scott Donnelly’s goals from midfield to get them over the line.
Bradbury has shown with his summer signings that he intends to put those problems behind him.
Paterson follows experienced ex-Football League striker Marvin Morgan to the Hawks, after he signed earlier this month.
And the prospect of pairing those two together in a new-look Hawks attack is something that excites the manager.
Bradbury said: ‘I believe they will compliment each other well.
‘There were a lot of clubs after Matt so, obviously, I am delighted he chose us.
‘I outlined to him my beliefs on what my squad is capable of achieving and he was sold on it.
‘The lad wants to step up and we can offer him that chance.
‘He can either achieve that with us or use playing at Westleigh Park as a stepping stone.
‘A good number of players have moved up after playing for us in the last few years – and he should be no different.’
Paterson played four games for the Hawks while on loan from Aldershot at the back end of the 2013-2014 season.
He failed to impress but, to be fair, didn’t enjoy much game time and struggled with his fitness.
Last season at Borough the front man showed what he is really capable of, forging a potent striking partnership with Justin Bennett as the duo scored 58 goals between them.
If he can repeat those exploits with the Hawks next season, Bradbury is convinced his side can launch a promotion challenge.
‘We have good options up front and if Matt can get up and around 25 goals again he will have done the job for us,’ said Bradbury.
The arrival of Paterson casts doubt over the Hawks’ other strikers.
Ben Wright signed a two-year deal when he arrived during the second half of last season so he will expect to be retained.
But Bradbury will have to decide what to do with JJ Hooper and Shamir Mullings.
Hooper faded badly in the second half of the campaign.
Mullings was more of a fringe player but made the most of his appearances from the substitutes’ bench.
Bradbury admitted more changes were imminent.
‘You can expect there to be some movement out,’ he added.