Bradbury demands Hawks focus

Ben Swallow, left, celebrrates the Hawks' Cup win over Canvey Island with Scott Donnelly Picture: Sarah Standing
Ben Swallow, left, celebrrates the Hawks' Cup win over Canvey Island with Scott Donnelly Picture: Sarah Standing
Alex Pike. Picture: Malcolm Wells

Pike sacked by Gosport Borough – again

Have your say

Lee Bradbury has urged his Hawks players to forget about the FA Cup as they return to Vanarama Conference South action at Whitehawk tomorrow (3pm).

The Hawks will face League One Preston North End in the first round of the famous knockout competition after beating Canvey Island 3-0 in their midweek replay.

The Lilywhites will travel to Westleigh Park on Monday, November 10, for what is a dream tie for the south coast outfit, with the game set to be broadcast live on TV.

Bradbury, though, is insisting his players get their feet back on the ground in their search for three vital league points.

The Hawks occupy third spot in the table but have four chasing clubs breathing down their neck.

Brighton-based Whitehawk are in mid-table but are highly-fancied as one of the teams to challenge for the play-offs.

And the Hawks will need to be focused on the job in hand if they are to get anything from their visit.

‘We can’t afford to take our eye off the ball in the league,’ said Bradbury.

‘Whitehawk won’t be easy and should be up there challenging to be in the top five.

‘They have some good players and it is going to be tough.

‘We have to forget about the FA Cup for now and move on quickly.

‘Our focus has to be to prepare well and go there to win the game.’

The Hawks showed the different sides of their character in the two recent Cup games against Canvey Island. In Essex, where playing conditions were far from ideal, Bradbury’s men displayed great resilience and determination to force a 0-0 draw.

On the slicker surface at Westleigh Park, the Hawks reverted to their smooth-flowing passing game.

The Ryman League premier division side couldn’t live with them as they cruised to victory and another clean sheet.

At Whitehawk it will certainly be a case of digging in once again.

If the Hawks can produce another shut out they possess the fire power to hurt their hosts.

JJ Hooper grabbed his 12th goal of the season on Tuesday night and winger Ben Swallow proved a revelation.

‘Ben was fantastic both on and off the ball and scored a fantastic goal,’ said Bradbury.

‘He caused Canvey all sorts of problems and was probably our man of the match.

‘We know what he is capable of and is valuable to the team.

‘Our whole performance was professional in the way the team worked hard for each other.

‘We will need to produce the same work-rate and tempo at Whitehawk.’

Bradbury suggests he might rotate some of his players but is unlikely to tinker too much with his starting line-up.

The Hawks have suffered just one defeat in their past 12 games, keeping nine clean sheets in the process.

Hawks: Young, Strugnell, Dutton, Harris, Cummings, Stock, Donnelly, Swallow, Bubb, Hooper, Huggins, Connell, Mullings, Ryan, Ciardini, Woodford, Blanchett