Hawks boss ready to Grant Alex his chance

Alex Grant applauds the Pompey fans after his debut. Picture: Ian Hargreaves
Alex Grant applauds the Pompey fans after his debut. Picture: Ian Hargreaves
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Lee Bradbury is all set to unleash Alex Grant as he bids to put a frustrating fortnight at Westleigh Park behind him.

The Hawks boss is expected to hand a debut to the young Pompey defender as his side hopes to end a run of four consecutive postponements.

The Blue Square Bet South outfit travel to the Avenue Stadium to face Dorchester Town tomorrow (3pm).

During their period of inactivity – due to a combination of rain, snow and ice – the Hawks have slid to the fringes of the relegation zone.

It’s a descent Bradbury is determined to address sooner rather than later.

While they have games in hand, the ex-Pompey hitman is hungry for points.

And with just seven points separating them from the play-offs – he knows there is still a lot to play for.

‘Even one point can make a huge difference in our league at the moment,’ said Bradbury.

‘The weather hasn’t made life easy and it is important we go to Dorchester ready to get back on it from the start.

‘We showed in the games at Eastbourne and Tonbridge we are capable of dominating sides away from home.

‘Although we lost to a penalty that never was at Tonbridge – we created the lion’s share of the chances and we should have come away with all three points.

‘It is important that we come away from Dorchester with something.

‘We don’t want to find ourselves back in the bottom three.’

Grant arrived at Westleigh Park on loan this week.

The young defender, who can play at both centre-back and left-back – has penned an initial month-long deal.

An English-born Aussie, Grant celebrated his 19th birthday on Wednesday, and is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Dan Butler with a successful spell at Westleigh Park.

Bradbury said: ‘Alex is six foot two and will give us a greater physical presence on the left side of our defence. Dan Butler did well for us on loan from Portsmouth and we are looking for Alex to do the same.’

Grant made his professional debut back in August – when a Pompey side, made up mainly of academy players, were beaten by Plymouth Argyle in the Capital One Cup at Home Park.

He has since spent a period on loan at the Hawks’ south coast rivals Eastleigh – but he only featured once for the Spitfires.

Bradbury has also been boosted by the return to fitness of captain – and central defender – Ryan Woodford.

Woodford, who suffered an ankle ligament injury, is one player who has benefitted from the bad weather – missing just one game since the AFC Hornchurch game at the beginning of the month.

The impressive form of Ed Harris and Dan Strugnell may mean Woodford has to settle for a spot on the bench, though.

Wycombe midfielder Jesse Kewley-Graham is also preparing to kick-start his loan spell at Westleigh Park – and make his debut tomorrow.

The Hawks thumped Dorchester Town 4-0 on home turf earlier this season.

Goals from Steve Ramsey, Ollie Palmer, Tony Taggart and Harris sealed the fate of the Magpies that day.

The Dorset side have struggled for any rhythm since – winning just one of their last five league games – and sit just a single point ahead of the Hawks.

Bradbury is hoping his side can exploit the home team’s lack of confidence.

‘They have played the least number of games in our league – because of their success in the FA Cup and FA Trophy,’ said the boss.

‘It is important we don’t allow them to get any further ahead of us in the league.’

Meanwhile, there have been no moves for the likes of Palmer and Christian Nanetti who have attracted interest from Football League clubs this term.

‘My phone is turned off,’ said Bradbury.

Hawks: Masters, Newton, Harris, Strugnell, Grant, Arthur, Hutchinson, Ryan, Kewley-Graham, Nanetti, Palmer, Kabba, Woodford, Ramsey, Bailey, Jones, Pearce