Gale’s keen to see Hawks take flight

Mark Nwokeji is a doubt. Picture: Dave Haines
Mark Nwokeji is a doubt. Picture: Dave Haines
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The Hawks are determined to make a good start to their Blue Square South campaign despite facing a tricky visit to fancied Boreham Wood (3pm).

Manager Shaun Gale is pleased with the way his newcomers have settled in.

And he is adamant, if the squad can stay clear of injuries and suspensions, they have the ability to make their mark.

One of the main reasons last season’s play-off challenge petered out so quickly was a lack of goals.

Gale admits he would have liked to have brought in another striker over the summer.

That hasn’t been possible for a number of reasons, although, the boss is not ruling out a late deal.

With a number of clubs spending serious money strengthening their squads during the summer, Blue Square South looks an even more competitive division this season.

And Gale accepts making a good start will be important.

‘We must hit the ground running this time around because we are expecting a challenging season,’ said Gale.

‘Last year we didn’t start particularly well and we need to address that.

‘I am happy with my squad – though it isn’t very big – and I believe we can be competitive.

‘The key to our season will be keeping our players out on the pitch. We cannot afford to have them sitting in the stands for whatever reason.

‘We did well away from home last season and showed we need fear no-one and will probably set up the same again.’

Boreham Wood have emerged as one of the bookies’ early favourites after acquiring the services of seven new players this summer, most notably the high-profile Farnborough trio of keeper Michael Jordan, defender James Smith and midfield ace Daryl McMahon.

Gale’s side put in one of their poorest performances in defeat at Meadow Park towards the end of last season and won’t be able to afford a repeat of that lacklustre display.

Newcomers Lee Peacock, Craig Braham-Barrett and Chris Holland are all expected to make their debuts in the starting line-up, with the only doubt striker Mark Nwokeji.

Nwokeji picked up a knock last weekend and was unable to make training in the week due to the riots in London which made travelling impossible.

‘Mark has worked his socks off all summer and has enjoyed playing off Lee Peacock up front,’ said Gale.

‘We shall assess his fitness and hopefully he will be okay.’

Perry Ryan and goalkeeper Lyall Beasley are included in the squad as negotiations continue to try and keep both at Westleigh Park.

Hawks: Ashmore, Newton, Pearce, Holland, McDonald, Igoe, Ramsey, Fogden, Peacock, Braham-Barrett, Nwokeji, Hinshelwood, Woodford, Scott, Whyte, Beasley, Ryan