Hawks ready for ‘massive’ test against top two

The Hawks will be hoping Mustafa Tiryaki can continue his scoring form
The Hawks will be hoping Mustafa Tiryaki can continue his scoring form
Brett Poate

Defenders provide a big boost for Moneyfields

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The Hawks can pull off a unique double in the next three days when they take on the top-two sides in Blue Square South.

Shaun Gale takes his play-off-chasing side to second-placed Ebbsfleet United tomorrow (3pm), before league leaders Braintree Town visit West Leigh Park on Monday night.

With three consecutive wins under their belt, the Hawks are confident they can more than give a good account of themselves, even though it will be a huge test of their resolve.

‘It is a massive weekend for us,’ said Gale.

‘If we can come out the other side of it with the right results it will make a big difference and move us closer to where we aim to be.

‘The recent wins have given our confidence a big boost but we won’t get carried away.

‘It is important that we keep our feet on the ground because the next two games are as tough as they come.

‘This is the time when we have to work even harder and be braver on the ball.’

The Hawks boosted their play-off chances with a maximum points haul from their two games last weekend.

And if they can come through this crunch period with their unbeaten run intact, it will provide a huge statement of their intent.

Gale admits the past two wins have come without the Hawks playing particularly well for long spells and his players need to pick their game up further.

His side are also going to Ebbsfleet looking to gain revenge for the 3-2 home defeat suffered to the Kent club last month.

That was on an extremely difficult West Leigh Park pitch when Ebbsfleet adapted a lot better to the conditions.

The Hawks conceded some poor goals that day and Gale insists his team will have to do better this time around.

‘Ebbsfleet were far more direct and, defensively, we were poor,’ said Gale

‘We have to go to their place and cause them the same sort of problems they caused us.

‘On the road this season we have a half-decent record and have pulled off some excellent wins against top sides.’

Gale will be encouraged by the return of striker Mustafa Tiryaki to the goal trail – he has netted two in two games – and hopes the big Turkish striker can continue his scoring form.

‘Mus is a confidence player and hopefully now he can kick on,’ said Gale.

‘He has been struggling with a back problem and hasn’t been able to train.

‘Now he has started to get his weight back down and is beginning to be the physical threat we know he can.

‘He is a big player for us and it is important that we have him right.’

Manny Williams is a doubt after taking a heavy knock to the ribs and another to his ankle in midweek.

Central-defender Sam Pearce is another doubt after suffering a head injury but James Tyrrell showed in midweek that he is a capable deputy in that area.

Gale also hopes to have the physical presence of Leon Cashman available, along with full-back Jon McDonald who has recovered from bruised ribs.

Hawks: Ashmore, Newton, Simpemba, Cashman, Tyrrell, McDonald, Hinshelwood, Seley, Igoe, Ramsey, Fogden, Sole, Tiryaki, Pearce, Scott, Howe, Baldacchino.