Hawks midfielder holds out hope

Hawks midfielder Sammy Igoe
Hawks midfielder Sammy Igoe
Ollie Pearce scored for Bognor in their match today. Picture: Tommy McMillan

Bognor get first win in six months

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Midfielder Sammy Igoe believes the Hawks can still achieve a place in the Blue Square South play-offs as their quest continues at relegation-battling Thurrock tonight (7.45pm).

Two consecutive defeats against the top-two sides, Braintree and Ebbsfleet, last week looked to have blown the Hawks’ chances out of the water.

But Shaun Gale’s men bounced back into contention with a convincing 4-1 home win over Bishop’s Stortford on Saturday.

The experienced Igoe was deservedly named man of the match in that game after scoring and having a hand in all three of the other West Leigh Park side’s goals.

After having his season badly disrupted by injury, the former Pompey midfielder showed he’s back to his best and has an important part to play if the Hawks are to have a successful run to the end of the season.

‘That was more like it (against Bishop’s Stortford) and, in all honesty, we played quite well,’ said Igoe.

‘The manager said to us beforehand that he wanted a performance after we were all disappointed to lose our previous two games.

‘We’d gone into those two games feeling we could beat them but it just wasn’t to be.

‘You can’t say we didn’t try because everyone gave 100 per cent.

‘We missed chances and, if we had stuck them away, it could have been a very different story.

‘We believe it is not all over yet and it is still possible for us to make the play-offs.

‘Galey said he wanted us to act like he was putting a million pounds in front of us all so we would have a right go at it.

‘But that’s what we are going to do anyway – keep it going now until the end of the season and achieve something. In the past three games we have shown a lot of pace and energy up front and in training we have been working at being more clinical in front of goal.

‘We have missed chances of late and it has cost us but our hard work paid for us a little bit at the weekend.’

The Hawks still have a lot to do if they are to stand any chance of finishing in the top five.

Their latest win left them in 11th place – 16 points adrift of fifth-placed Chelmsford – with four games in hand.

There is little margin for error and another three points at Thurrock tonight would prove a huge psychological boost – particularly, with Chelmsford due to visit West Leigh Park in a fortnight’s time.

Thurrock are just one place and three points above the drop zone but they scrapped to a good point when drawing 0-0 at Hampton & Richmond Borough at the weekend.

The Hawks have doubts over the fitness of Paul Hinshelwood and Sam Pearce, who both suffered groin strains against Bishop’s Stortford.

However, Gale hopes to have striker Manny Williams back after his recovery from bruised ribs.

Defender Leon Cashman is unavailable because of his Royal Navy duties.

Gale expects his side to build on their win at the weekend but admitted his money incentive was a bit tongue-in-cheek.

‘I just used it as an example to relieve some of the pressure and only wish I had that sort of money,’ he said.

‘Maybe I can win the Euro Lottery.

‘I explained to the players that if it was possible they probably wouldn’t end up too short of winning all the games and that we could still have a right go.

‘We need to turn up and do another professional job at Thurrock because it isn’t an easy place to go.

‘There are no easy games and they never get many watching so we will have to create our own atmosphere.

‘Few people expect us to make the play-offs but we are determined to remain positive all the time we are still in with a chance.’

Hawks: Ashmore, Newton, Pearce, Simpemba, McDonald, Hinshelwood, Igoe, Selley, Ramsey, Fogden, Sole, Tiryaki, Williams, Tyrrell, Williams, Scott, Robson, Howe.