Bradbury: Hawks must keep up hard work

Adrian Clifton. Picture: Allan Hutchings
Adrian Clifton. Picture: Allan Hutchings
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Lee Bradbury has backed his Hawks to continue their hard work when they host Southern League Petersfield Town at Westleigh Park tonight (7.45pm).

In a repeat of last season’s Portsmouth Senior Cup final, the manager wants his side to maintain their unbeaten pre-season record.

The hosts are without a number of injured players but Bradbury sees it as an opportunity for others to stake their claim.

Marvin Morgan, Brian Dutton, Brian Stock and Nic Ciardini are all likely to be sidelined.

‘The injuries allow me the chance to give a bit of game-time to other players,’ said Bradbury.

‘With the opening league game coming very quickly it will give them the opportunity to stake a claim.

‘I have been pleased with pre-season so far but it is important we keep working hard.

‘We saw at Portchester teams from lower leagues raise their game against us.

‘Petersfield will be no different and will arrive full of confidence after winning the Wessex League premier division and getting promoted.

‘Their manager Ian Saunders is an ex-serviceman like myself, so his team will be disciplined.

‘They will be well organised and hard to break down.

‘It will be up to us to be creative and find a way through.’

Bradbury has seen plenty to be encouraged about so far – with his new signings all making an impact.

Striker Matt Paterson showed at AFC Portchester he is hard-working and a threat in the final third.

Adrian Clifton has given the midfield a greater physical presence and he too has displayed his quality in and around the goal.

Bradbury was disappointed his side conceded three times in the draw with the Royals but felt only one of them was down to poor defending.

‘Our aim is to get back to keeping clean sheets and scoring goals,’ he said.

‘Pre-season is about getting the fitness up and making the systems and formations work.

‘We have more options in midfield and up front this season.

‘The banter is starting to fly around which shows the players are feeling more comfortable together.

‘Having chemistry in the squad both on and off the pitch is important.’

Petersfield boss Ian Saunders is looking for improvement after his team lost 4-1 at Thatcham this week.

‘We are under no illusions and know we are heading into the lion’s den against the Hawks,’ said Saunders.

‘I’ll be looking at the way we compete more than anything. In our 3-2 defeat to Swindon, I felt we did just that and I am looking for a return to that.’

Hawks: Young, Cummings, Blanchett, Harris, Molyneaux, Strugnall, Wedlake, Connolly, Clifton, Swallow, Paterson, Hayter, Mullings, Searle, Ridge, Kimber, Gale, Whittingham

Petersfield Town: Shortt, Searle O, Wain, Sackman, Hyde, Green, Wedlake, Walker, Read, Briggs, Dixon, Essai, Flanighan, Boyle, Ford, Neal, Richardson, Taylor