Hawks on a mission

Hawks defender Dan Strugnell. Picture: Dave Haines
Hawks defender Dan Strugnell. Picture: Dave Haines
Brett Poate

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The Hawks are on a mission as they head for Eastbourne Borough looking to stretch their unbeaten Skrill South run to eight games.

Lee Bradbury’s side are in great form, having reached the Hampshire Senior Cup final and won two tough away matches in the league.

It is the response they needed after their FA Trophy misery at the hands of Gosport Borough.

The 2-0 win at Boreham Wood on Wednesday saw them rise up to 12th place, nine points adrift of the play-off places but with nine games in hand.

‘The FA Trophy semi-final defeat has made the players more determined to challenge for the play-offs,’ said Bradbury.

‘They didn’t play anywhere near as well as they could both individually and as a team.

‘As a result, they feel they owe it to themselves, and to each other, to be more consistent in the future.

‘They have shown that well in the last couple of games, working hard and scoring good goals.

‘We have come through the last week with flying colours but it is just the start.

‘There are another four games coming up in quick succession and we have to do it all again.

‘We have kept 11 clean sheets in our past 13 league games and must look to keep that going.’

Bradbury is delighted with the way his squad have reacted to his strategy to mix and match players for games.

At Boreham Wood he rested veteran central defender Pedro Monteiro.

That meant Dan Strugnell was switched into the middle of the defence.

Strugnell lined up alongside Ryan Woodford, who has regained his place after Ed Harris suffered an injury.

Woodford has been a revelation since coming back into the team.

He even popped up with the winning goal in the 1-0 victory at Hayes & Yeading.

Bradbury feels it highlights the positive attitude of all his players, who are desperate to help the club’s push for success.

‘All the players who have come in, have shown they can do the job,’ said Bradbury.

‘That is down to the professional attitude we have demanded at the club.

‘The players look after themselves, even when not playing, which means they are ready to grab the opportunities when they come along.’

Bradbury believes Monteiro’s experience has helped Woodford develop.

He said: ‘Ryan has learned a lot from playing alongside Pedro, particularly with regards to his positioning against attackers.

‘He has been a calm influence on the ball, always looking to pass the ball out from defence.’

Eighth-placed Eastbourne will be likely to provide a tough test for Bradbury’s men.

Tommy Widdrington has them well organised and they were unlucky not to beat high-flying Eastleigh recently.

Bradbury is likely to change his starting line-up again for tomorrow’s contest.

Hawks (from): Bevan, Buchel, Strugnell, Monteiro, Woodford, Blanchett, Cummings, Atangana, Ryan, Ciardini, Donnelly, Oli, Nanetti, Kabba, Jones, Przespolewski, Ramsey, Hutchinson