Hawks gaffer buoyed by some overdue consistency

Dan Strugnell, right. Picture: Allan Hutchings
Dan Strugnell, right. Picture: Allan Hutchings
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Lee Bradbury insists the Hawks must build on their recent success by beating Hemel Hempstead Town at Westleigh Park tomorrow (3pm).

The home side have gone five games unbeaten in National League South and lifted themselves out of the relegation zone.

In their last two outings, the Hawks have beaten second-placed Maidstone and forced a draw at leaders Ebbsfleet United.

The results have boosted confidence at Westleigh Park.

Bradbury recognises there is still plenty of work to do – with his side only three points above the drop zone.

But for the first time this season, he is buoyed by their consistency.

‘Our recent performances have been very pleasing,’ said the Hawks boss.

‘It all boils down to hard work and increased energy – on and off the ball.

‘We have become a lot harder to beat and that is really important.

‘When we have fallen behind, we’ve shown the ability to fight back and get something from the game.

‘We have done that against three of the best teams in our league – Whitehawk, Maidstone and Ebbsfleet.

‘To me this shows my players are up for it and are not prepared to roll over for anybody.’

The Hawks will fancy their chances of keeping their unbeaten run going against Hemel, who have struggled in recent weeks. The visitors have not won since beating the Hawks at home six games ago.

‘While they have struggled we have been going the other way,’ said Bradbury.

‘It is important we make this count and pick up another three points.

‘Our league is so tight at the moment, a couple of wins can easily take us up into mid-table.’

The Hawks may have to do without one of their most consistent performers, though, after Dan Strugnell picked up an injury at Ebbsfleet. The full-back left the ground on crutches.

If he fails to recover, his powerful defending and support on the flanks will be missed.

Bradbury said: ‘Dan has been one of our most consistent performers.

‘He is a good defender and likes to get forward to support attacks.’

His absence will further deplete the Hawks’ defensive resources as Brian Dutton and Lee Molyneaux are both missing.

Midfielder Theo Lewis also remains a doubt with an ankle injury. Bradbury will, however, be able to call on loanee defender James Haran, who made a big impression against Ebbsfleet.

The Queens Park Rangers talent, who hails from Australia, showed himself to be an aggressive, no-nonsense defender.

He was unfortunate to get sent off for a second bookable offence in the final minute – but otherwise had a very impressive debut.

Hawks: Young, Blanchett, Medway, Hill, Haran, Cummings, Stock, Mitchell, Donnelly, Ciardini, Mullings, Swallow, Hayter, Paterson, Thomson