Bradbury hits out at ‘ridiculous’ fixture demands

Sahr Kabba. Picture: Dave Haines
Sahr Kabba. Picture: Dave Haines
Jason Prior, centre. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Bradbury’s pride as Hawks clinch big win

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Lee Bradbury has slammed the fixture demands placed on his side in their bid to make the Skrill South play-offs.

His team got their promotion push back on track on Saturday with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Basingstoke – thanks to a Sahr Kabba strike.

However, they have no time to rest on their laurels, with Bath City visiting Westleigh Park tonight (7.45pm).

The home clash will be the Hawks’ 11th game in 23 days.

And with games on Thursday and Saturday, too, there is no let up in the punishing schedule.

Bradbury is trying to deal with the situation by rotating his squad and so far that has kept them in contention.

The Hawks remained in ninth place after Saturday’s triumph.

But they cut the gap to fifth-placed Dover Athletic down to seven points with four games in hand.

Bradbury, however, reckons it will be a remarkable achievement if his side manage to secure a spot in the play-offs.

‘To have to play so many games in such a short space of time is crazy,’ he said.

‘It is absolutely ridiculous that any team should be put in this situation.

‘The weather has been a big factor but we are also being punished for being successful in two cups.

‘We have played nine games in the space of 18 days – that is a game virtually every 48 hours.

‘That would be a lot for two teams let alone one to cope with.

‘It is relentless but the players have worked hard and put in some big shifts.’

Against Basingstoke, Bradbury was forced to rest a number of his key players because of exhaustion.

But the men who came in did a good job at the Camrose. The Hawks grabbed the win they needed after losing to play-off rivals Dover on Thursday night. But it was far from pretty.

The game had a distinct end-of-season feel about it in the blustery wind – with both teams looking a little jaded.

Kabba snatched the decisive goal on 19 minutes after a clearance out of the Basingstoke defence was hit back first time.

Although home keeper Louis Wells got his fingertips to Kabba’s lofted effort, he could not prevent the ball bouncing into the far corner of the net.

That was virtually it as far as the action went – apart from a curling shot from Scott Jones at the start of the second half that bounced back off the crossbar.

‘You can’t always play the football you want to and sometimes it is all about grinding out a result,’ said Bradbury.

‘We have shown great character and mental strength in recent weeks to bounce straight back after losing.

‘It was in evidence again in the last 20 minutes when Basingstoke threw everything into our area but we stood up to it.’

Bradbury has the option of bringing a clutch of first-team regulars back into the fray tonight.

Nigel Atangana, Nic Ciardini, Dan Blanchett, Pedro Monteiro and Christian Nanetti are all in contention to feature in the starting line-up against Bath City.

The Hawks host Whitehawk on Thursday night before travelling to Chelmsford City on Saturday.

Hawks: Buchel, Newton, Cummings, Hutchinson, Woodford, Strugnell, Bassele (Ramsey, 71mins), Ryan, Jones (Ciardini, 70mins), Donnelly, Kabba (Paterson, 81mins). Subs: Przespolewski, Monteiro. Att: 344