Bradbury warns Hawks to expect Staines banana skin

Bradley Bubb. Picture: Allan Hutchings
Bradley Bubb. Picture: Allan Hutchings
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Lee Bradbury has warned the Hawks against any complacency ahead of their crucial Vanarama Conference South visit to Staines Town tomorrow (3pm).

The south London club are already relegated after suffering a poor season so far.

They have only won six of their 36 league games to date.

On paper it makes them look like easy opposition for the promotion-chasing Hawks, who are fourth in the table.

But Bradbury is convinced the fact they are already down will make them more dangerous opposition.

It means Staines can go out and play with freedom – there will be no pressure on them to get a victory.

The Hawks boss insists if his team don’t approach the game properly they could easily come unstuck in their bid to reach the play-offs.

They must be fully focused for the contest.

‘This game is potentially a huge banana skin for us,’ said Bradbury.

‘The players won’t need reminding what happened at Tonbridge on the final day of last season.

‘Tonbridge were already relegated and we needed a win to make sure of reaching the play-offs

‘We could only draw 0-0 and we missed out on goal difference to Dover.

‘It is vital that we go to Staines in the right frame of mind and remain focused on what we are trying to achive.

‘Staines won’t have any pressure on them and will be able to play with a degree of freedom.

‘They went to Bromley a couple of weeks ago and beat the league leaders 1-0 so we will have to be on our guard.’

The Hawks have to make do without their influential midfielder Brian Stock, who starts a five-game ban after being sent off three times this season.

Bradbury will also be forced to reshuffle up front with Bradley Bubb and JJ Hooper injured.

The absence of these players could mean a start for the two AFC Bournemouth loanees, Harry Cornick and Josh Carmichael.

Both players went on as second-half substitutes and did well in the 1-0 win at Chelmsford City.

Cornick, in his second loan spell with the Hawks, has bags of pace and Carmichael gives a physical presence in the middle of the park.

The Hawks start the weekend in a good position, three points ahead of Gosport Borough and Whitehawk.

Bradbury knows a six-point haul over Easter, with wins over Staines and Bath City at home on Monday, will go a long way towards sealing their place in the top five.

‘From now on in it will be the teams that make the least mistakes that will get in,’ added the Hawks manager.

‘We have to go out there and make sure we impose our game on opponents, starting at Staines.

‘If we can make an early breakthrough then that might deflate them.

‘The first 20 minutes will be vitally important.

‘We know that while we can keep a clean sheet we are always in with a chance.

‘We possess the second-best defensive record in the league and now just need to do a little better up front.

‘Our fate is very much in our own hands and we want to keep it that way.

‘We are in a good position but it is so tight things can change very quickly.