Hawks need another solid road show at Braintree

George Barker played well in midweek. Picture: Habibur Rahman
George Barker played well in midweek. Picture: Habibur Rahman
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Lee Bradbury insists the Hawks need to be at their best for their visit to Vanarama National League South high-flyers Braintree Town on Saturday (3pm).

The Essex side are in the hunt for the title, they are currently second in the table, one of four teams level with 28 points, and they are unbeaten at home.

With the Hawks having lost just once on their travels this season it should make for an entertaining contest with both teams putting good records on the line.

‘This will be without doubt our sternest test yet,’ said boss Bradbury.

‘Braintree are a good side and possess a lot of experience.

‘From what I have seen of them they are bright, move the ball quickly and are dangerous going forward.

‘We will have to be at our best to come away with a win and a point would be a good one.

‘They start games quickly so we will have to concentrate from the first whistle.

‘If it is a case of making sure we stay in the game as long as possible and then nicking a 1-0 win then we will be more than happy.

‘At the moment we are ninth in the league.

‘If we are the same or better after our next three games then we will have done well.’

Away from home the Hawks have defended very well as a team.

Jason Prior has acted as the sole striker with midfield players getting up to support him.

That means Alfie Rutherford may have to wait a little bit longer before regaining his place in the starting line-up.

The young striker has strengthened his case and is pushing for selection soon.

Against Poole Town he went on as a substitute and grabbed the late equaliser in the 2-2 draw.

He added to his tally in midweek with a hat-trick against Petersfield Town in the Portsmouth Senior Cup.

Lee Molyneaux and George Barker also impressed in midweek.

Molyneaux put in a solid performance at the back.

The Hawks also have the option of returning Jordan Rose to the starting line-up.

Boss Bradbury wants to see his team make the most of any opportunities they can create and also make sure they do not gift anything to their hosts.

He added: ‘We have to become far more ruthless in both penalty areas.

‘In recent games we have dominated possession and not made the most of it.

‘It has been easier away from home but at Westleigh Park teams have come and frustrated us.

‘We have to be better at dealing with that.’

Pompey loanee Theo Widdrington is suspended.

Hawks: Young, Williams, Woodford, Harris, Robinson, Lewis, Fogden, Carter, Tarbuck, Prior, Molyneaux, Rose, Rutherford, Barker, Strugnell, Hayter