Hawks closing in on more fire-power

Hawks striker JJ Hooper
Hawks striker JJ Hooper
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LEE BRADBURY insists he is close to bringing a new target man to Westleigh Park in his bid to boost the Hawks’ fire-power.

The manager feels he needs a proven goalscorer to complete the jigsaw in his attempt to launch a bid for the newly-named National South title.

His strikers lacked consistency in front of goal last season and Bradbury knows it is a problem he needs to remedy over the summer.

‘I have got a few irons in the fire and it is all about getting the right one,’ said the Westleigh Park boss.

‘It has not been easy because good strikers are highly sought-after and it is a very competitive market out there.

‘Having to compete with clubs in our league and above in attracting quality players is often difficult.

‘I am looking for someone with a degree of experience but that invariably means asking players to drop a level and they aren’t always prepared to do that.

‘If I can get one of my three current targets we shall be in a good position.

‘I don’t think I am far away from doing a deal and, hopefully, I can bring someone in over the next week.’

Bradbury already has three strikers at the club, with JJ Hooper, Ben Wright and Shamir Mullings remaining from last season.

Bradley Bubb and Alan Connell were released at the campaign’s end.

None of the five forwards hit the net on a regular enough basis last term and Bradbury is hoping a new addition will help inspire his side to greater things.

Of his central-attacking options, Hooper showed the greatest potential, particularly early in the season when he found his best form.

The youngster, however, soon went off the boil – much to the frustration of his manager and the supporters.

A question mark remains over his willingness to work hard when the Hawks don’t have the ball.

‘JJ has all the attributes but was a little bit naive at times,’ said Bradbury.

‘The lad is 6ft 2in, big, strong and athletic.

‘He will be a good player and I am convinced will play at a higher level.

‘It is just getting the necessary level of consistency out of him.’

Hard work is never a problem for fellow striker Mullings, who found himself playing a bit part for most of last season.

Whenever he went on as a substitute, Mullings provided a physical presence but didn’t look a natural goalscorer.

The most experienced of the trio is Wright and Bradbury is looking for a big pre-season from him.

‘Ben has a lot of talent if we can get him on the ball in the final third,’ said Bradbury.

‘He needs to play off a target man, though, rather than being the focus of the attack.’