Bradbury: Let’s show the real us

Hawks boss Lee Bradbury, right. Picture: Paul Jacobs (160012-21)
Hawks boss Lee Bradbury, right. Picture: Paul Jacobs (160012-21)
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The Hawks have another chance to lift themselves out of the National League South relegation zone with fellow strugglers Bath City visiting Westleigh Park tonight (7.45pm).

A win will see the Hawks leapfrog Weston-super-Mare and Chelmsford City, who are not playing, and out of the bottom three.

Manager Lee Bradbury feels that will give his team a massive boost in their bid to banish any relegation worries.

He also believes his team have a point to prove after suffering a 5-0 hammering at Bath City earlier this season.

The Hawks let their heads drop in the latter stages of the game at Twerton Park and could easily have suffered a bigger defeat.

But Bradbury is convinced his squad have developed a far greater resilience since then.

‘This is a big game for both teams,’ said the Westleigh Park boss.

‘Every game matters but ones against the teams in and around you in the league are doubly important.

‘When we lost at their place it was possibly our worst performance of the season.

‘We caved in during the final 25 minutes and I know the players want to set the record straight. This is a chance to show the real us.

‘We have to build on our last two games where I feel we have given 95-minute performances.’

The Hawks have taken four points from their last two outings – beating Bishop’s Stortford 2-1 at home and forcing a 1-1 draw at Whitehawk.

In both games, Bradbury’s team have shown an increased appetite for the fight and upped their tempo.

The boss expects more of the same effort tonight.

‘The players have accepted we are in a relegation battle,’ said Bradbury.

‘They realise the position we are in and their responsibility to pull us clear of it.

‘I expect them to continue showing the energy and desire needed to win football matches.’

The home side will be without injured defenders Warren Cummings and Brian Dutton.

That means Harry Medway and Lee Molyneaux are likely to continue at the back – with loanee defender Jack Whatmough back with Pompey.

Up front, Bradbury is likely to continue with the tactic of playing Scott Donnelly in behind striker Shamir Mullings. It has been successful in the last couple of games with Donnelly finding his shooting boots.

He scored both goals in the win over Bishop’s Stortford and got the late leveller at Whitehawk.

‘Scott is enjoying playing just off the striker and his goal ratio has been great,’ said Bradbury.

‘We need to play him where he can be most effective.’

Hawks: Young, Strugnell, Hill, Molyneaux, Medway, Stock, Lewis, Donnelly, Swallow, Mullings, Ciardini, Paterson, Hayter, Thomson, Blanchett, Cain