Hawks boss calls for more of the same

Dan Strugnell. Picture: Allan Hutchings (151159-160)
Dan Strugnell. Picture: Allan Hutchings (151159-160)
  • Westleigh Park outfit host Maidenhead
  • Lee Bradbury wants repeat of Oxford heroics
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Lee Bradbury is demanding more of the same as the Hawks take on Maidenhead United in the National League South at Westleigh Park (3pm).

Bradbury’s decision to shake things up in midweek paid instant dividends with a 3-1 win at second-placed Oxford City.

With two new arrivals, Godfrey Poku and Theo Lewis, drafted straight into the starting line-up the Hawks stormed to their first league away win of the season.

Poku, on loan from National League Woking, and Lewis, signed from National League South rivals Ebbsflet United, both had eventful debuts.

The former grabbed a hat-trick – the first ever by a Hawks player on his debut – and Lewis was sent off 20 minutes from the end of a solid debut.

More importantly, the appearance of the two new faces seemed to galvanise the rest of the team into action.

They looked a totally different side to the one that had crumbled to a 4-1 defeat at Margate just three days earlier.

Bradbury knows which team he needs to turn up against the Magpies.

If the Hawks are going to claw their way back into contention for the play-off places they need to string a series of victories together.

The period between now and the new year is going to be crucial to their ambitions.

Bradbury believes the win at Oxford can prove to be a turning point in the season.

‘It is important we push on from here,’ said Bradbury.

‘I was hoping our two excellent FA Cup games against Cheltenham would help spark our season but instead we had a dip in form.

‘We went a bit flat and the second-half collapse at Margate had the alarm bells ringing for me.

‘A few harsh words were said after that game because the way we folded was unacceptable. It is my responsibility to get the team playing and a few players needed to be told.

‘I felt we needed to shake things up with a couple of fresh faces.

‘That seems to have been borne out with the difference at Oxford.’

After their impressive display in midweek, Bradbury will almost certainly give his new midfield pair their home debut against Maidenhead.

He is also boosted by the imminent return of a number of players particularly in defence. Dan Strugnell faces a late fitness test and Pompey loanee Calvin Davies looks set to return.

Full-back Dan Blanchett is also back in contention following illness.

Lee Molyneaux also did well as a late substitute at Oxford in his first appearance since August.

And Nic Ciardini is back following a loan spell at Lewes.

‘There are still plenty of games left to play and there is no reason why we can’t get back challenging for the play-offs,’ added Bradbury.