Hawks boss still hunting for ‘needle in haystack’

Hawks-Lee Bradbury (Manager)'''Dave Haines (Photo credit should read Picture/s by Dave Haines)'
Hawks-Lee Bradbury (Manager)'''Dave Haines (Photo credit should read Picture/s by Dave Haines)'
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Hawks boss Lee Bradbury has admitted he is no nearer to finding a replacement for Ollie Palmer.

The striker left Westleigh Park for League Two last week – as he earned a move to Mansfield Town.

Now Bradbury has been left to hunt for a new hitman, with time ticking down to next weekend’s Conference South opener at Ebbsfleet.

The Hawks host a Charlton Athletic XI in their final pre-season friendly tomorrow (3pm).

And Bradbury has admitted he’s got his work cut out to replace the talented goal-getter.

‘We couldn’t stand in the way of the player any longer,’ said the boss.

‘It is very difficult to lose your leading goalscorer so close to the start of the season.

‘Ollie wasn’t just a goalscorer but a focal point for the way we played.

‘It would have been easier if it had happened two months ago.

‘I have been in contact with a few strikers on my list but it looks like one of those might not happen.

‘It is like looking for a needle in a haystack at this time of the year.

‘I am making lots of phone calls and trying to use all my contacts at the moment.’

Bradbury will consider taking a player on a season-long loan, although he would prefer to have a permanent arrival.

The manager would like someone with experience but refused to rule out the possibility of finding another raw talent like Palmer.

‘Strikers are very hard to come by but I have a few things in the pipeline that hopefully will come to fruition,’ said Bradbury.

‘It is unlikely to happen before this weekend but I hope to have someone in before our first league game.’

The departure of Palmer leaves Bradbury with just two strikers to call on – Sahr Kabba and Scott Jones.

They will have to bear greater responsibility but Bradbury also insists it isn’t just down to them.

Christian Nanetti, Steve Ramsey and Perry Ryan have also shown in the past they are capable of finding the net.

And the boss expects more goals from other areas.

‘As a team, we must take more responsibility for scoring goals,’ he said.

‘I’ve always believed when one door closes another opens, so it is time for Sahr and Scott to stand up and be counted.

‘With them now becoming the focus, maybe it is their time.’

Bradbury has offered pacy wide-player Serge Makofo a deal.

And midfielder Jesse Kewley-Graham has returned from Wycombe Wanderers for another loan spell.

HAWKS: Bevan, Newton, Blanchett, Hutchinson, Woodford, Harris, Nanetti, Ryan, Ciardini, Makofo, Strugnell, Searle, Kabba, Jones, Monteiro, Noakes