Harris calls for focus

Hawks skipper Ed Harris, left, believes the Westleigh Park side can benefit from a  tough pre-season to date Picture: Dave Haines
Hawks skipper Ed Harris, left, believes the Westleigh Park side can benefit from a tough pre-season to date Picture: Dave Haines
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Hawks captain Ed Harris is calling for another good shift from his team-mates as they entertain Fareham in a pre-season friendly at Westleigh Park tonight (7.45pm).

Harris insists it is important that the Conference South outfit remain focused after a demanding opening to their summer.

In their pre-season games to date, Lee Bradbury’s side have taken on League Two outfits Wycombe Wanderers, Pompey and Newport County – who all provided valuable work outs when registering wins.

A 1-0 win over Conference Premier outfit Salisbury City is the Hawks’ only victory as preparations for the new campaign continue.

And Harris knows a second win will be hard to come by tonight, despite Matt Parr’s Fareham playing their trade in the Wessex League premier division.

The Hawks, however, will be expected to use the opportunity to expand different areas of their game.

‘Our last opponents, Newport, were a very good team and gave us a good work out,’ said Harris.

‘I felt we applied ourselves well in the circumstances and stuck to our task.

‘Them being full-time meant they proved a little bit fitter and sharper than us.

‘They were better than us, but the 3-0 final scoreline flattered them.

‘It isn’t all about results at this stage but more about us developing good habits.

‘We are playing some good football and progressing every game.’

Bradbury will be looking for his team to impose themselves more as they take on junior opposition for the first time this summer.

His strikers have yet to score, while the team’s passing and decision-making in the final third has been lacking.

The manager will expect his players to exploit the extra time and space they should get against the likes of Fareham – and other remaining friendly opponents Bognor and Bashley.

One area of concern, though, could be the midfield, where Steve Ramsey looks likely to be out for up to six weeks with a toe injury.

With fellow midfielder Perry Ryan also suspended for the opening two Conference South fixtures, Bradbury finds his options reduced.

He has brought in Nic Ciardini from Farnborough and also has the experienced figure of Eddie Hutchinson back.

But he may feel he still needs a playmaker in that area to get the best out of his strike force.

Harris, however, is convinced that the present squad – with maybe one or two additions – can improve on last term’s top-10 finish.

‘I have no doubt we can build on what we achieved last season,’ said Harris.

‘When the gaffer came to the club in October we were second from bottom and struggling.

‘We ended up chasing the play-offs and only just falling short.

‘Everyone believes they can win something at this time of the year.

‘But I don’t see why we cannot push on and aim for the play-offs and even higher.

‘For now, though, we must look for a positive result against Fareham.’