Hawks keen to repeat Cup heroics

Richard Pacquette, left, and Alfie Potter celebrate after the Hawks went 1-0 against Liverpool
Richard Pacquette, left, and Alfie Potter celebrate after the Hawks went 1-0 against Liverpool
Rowan Vine. Picture: Keith Woodland

Vine calling for Gosport to fight to the finish

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Lee Bradbury wants to bring FA Cup fever back to Westleigh Park as the Hawks start on the road to Wembley against Swindon Supermarine tomorrow (3pm).

The Southern League south & west minnows will arrive on the south coast looking to pull off a second-round qualifying shock.

But home boss Lee Bradbury feels his team are overdue some Cup success.

‘The Hawks are famous for their Liverpool exploits and it would be great to get some Cup fever back at the club,’ said Bradbury.

‘It is the biggest domestic cup in the world and important to clubs at our level for lots of reasons.

‘Apart from the financial rewards that it can bring, there is also the excitement and buzz that goes with it.

‘I was playing at Port Vale on the day of the Hawks’ visit to Anfield and remember the half-time score coming through.

‘It put the club on the map and it would be good to do that again.

‘Last season we did well to draw at Gloucester City but were punished in the replay when we weren’t on our game.’

It is seven years since the Hawks – then under current assistant manager Shaun Gale – made history by reaching the fourth-round proper.

That run ended against five-time European champions Liverpool at Anfield, but only after they had disposed of Football League sides Notts County and Swansea City.

It was a fantastic achievement but since then the Hawks have only reached the first round on two occasions.

The year after the Liverpool experience – when they led the Reds twice – the Hawks met Brentford in a live televised game, and two years later they went out to Conference North side Droylesden at Westleigh Park.

Since then the Hawks have struggled to make any impact in the competition.

In the past two years they have suffered costly exits at the first attempt.

Conference North Gloucester City beat them in a replay last season but the year before was the Hawks’ lowest point ever in the Cup.

They travelled to Southern League south & west hosts North Leigh and were dumped out in embarrassing fashion.

Unlike then, the Hawks go into their tie with Swindon Supermarine in a confident mood, with five consecutive wins under their belt.

And Bradbury feels his current squad is capable of making progress in the competition.

Being the Cup, though, the manager knows his team will need to be on their game.

‘The history of the Cup is littered with giant-killings,’ said Bradbury.

‘We have to make sure that we are not on the receiving end of one.

‘Swindon Supermarine will come here feeling they have nothing to lose and that will make them dangerous.’

Bradbury is hoping Brian Stock, Alan Connell and JJ Hooper can shake off knocks to take their places in the squad.

Hawks: Young, Strugnell, Harris, Dutton, Cummings, Stock, Donnelly, Ciardini, Bubb, Hooper, Connell, Blanchett, Woodford, Swallow, Mullings, Monteiro, Ryan