Hawks counting the cost of injuries

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Lee Bradbury admits he doesn’t have the resources to bring in any Hawks re-inforcements.

The Westleigh Park boss has hit his budget limit and there is no more money available to bring further players in.

A crippling injury list has hit the club hard, leaving them struggling just two points above the Vanarama National League South drop zone.

Their biggest problem is in defence, with the Hawks conceding 24 goals in 12 games so far this season.

This is in stark contrast to last season when they possessed one of the meanest defences in the league.

Bradbury is in little doubt where his problems stem from – the absence of some of his most experienced players.

‘Losing Ed Harris before the season started has hit us hard,’ admitted Bradbury.

‘To make matters worse, we have also lost Brian Dutton since then.

‘They were our regular central-defensive pairing for the last two seasons and were very solid.

‘The long-term injuries have hurt us.

‘It has left us trying to plug gaps, with the knock-on effect of people having to play out of position.

‘With injuries and suspensions, it has meant we have not been able to field the same back four for a while.’

Bradbury has had to shift full-back Dan Strugnell into the heart of the defence and brought in youngster Manny Monthe.

Although both have made admirable efforts, they have been found wanting at times.

Strugnell has had to adjust to his different role after making the full-back position his own in recent years.

Monthe, at times, has been good but at other times has been guilty of making some basic mistakes.

Both players need to have more experienced heads around them and that hasn’t been possible.

For the FA cup games against Larkhall, the Hawks have had to draft in veteran Pedro Monteiro and he did a capable job.

Other option, summer signing from Gosport Borough, Lee Molyneaux is also a long-term casualty.

And with Harris unlikely to return before the new year, it means that Bradbury will be forced to carry on with a patched-up defence.

However, he is hoping to get Dutton back sooner than that, along with other injured defender Harry Medway.

‘We need to get our injured players back,’ added Bradbury.

‘It would make a nice change to have a full squad to choose from.

‘At times, defensively, we have been at sixes and sevens.

‘We know that we have to be better and need to be more decisive in both penalty areas.’

The Hawks’ next three league games are against teams below them in the league and will prove crucial.

Rapidly improving Wealdstone and bottom-of-the-league St Albans City have to visit Westleigh Park, and these are regarded as must-win games.