Hawks told to get ruthless in front of goal

Dan Thompson is pushing for a start against his old club this weekend Picture: Dave Haines
Dan Thompson is pushing for a start against his old club this weekend Picture: Dave Haines
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The Hawks have been told to display a more ruthless streak as they host struggling Hampton & Richmond Borough in Blue Square Bet South (3pm).

Manager Shaun Gale wants his side to exploit their strength at set-pieces to score more goals.

Ryan Woodford and Perry Ryan have both netted from corners in the past two weeks – but Gale insists other chances have gone begging.

‘I’d like to see us scoring more goals, particularly from set-pieces,’ said Gale.

‘We have players who can deliver and others who are decent in the air and capable of attacking the ball.

‘Scoring a few more goals from corners and free-kicks would make a huge difference.

‘You can’t always rely on your strikers to score the goals.’

The Hawks laboured to a 1-0 win over Southern League side Sholing in midweek to make the Hampshire Cup semi-finals.

But it was another match where they struggled to fire on all cylinders.

They were guilty of giv-ing the ball away far too cheaply at times and need to address that if they are to deal with a Hampton side fighting for their lives at the bottom.

Gale knows the London outfit will be no pushovers, having picked up some decent results against top sides in the past few weeks.

The two sides fought out a 3-3 draw at the Beveree earlier in the season and another tight contest could be on the cards.

‘It won’t be easy but we need the three points to keep us heading in the right direction,’ said Gale.

‘Against Sholing in midweek we caused them all sorts of problems and I want to see more of that.

‘We are not playing as well as we were earlier in the season but are still grinding out results.

‘Our style is not so open and, at times, we have had to sacrifice some of our flair players.

‘I am looking for a third consecutive clean sheet and if we can achieve that. I am sure we will win because we will score goals.’

The Hawks are without competitive midfielder Bobby Hopkinson, who tomorrow starts a three-match suspension following his sending off against Maidenhead United a fortnight ago.

The Hawks came back from the dead with 10 men to win that game and will need to display the same battling qualities to see off the Beavers.

Gale has the option of replacing Hopkinson with Sammy Igoe, Craig Braham-Barrett or Paul Hinshelwood.

Hinshelwood plays the more holding-midfield role but if Gale decides to go for a more expansive game, Igoe may get the nod after making a useful contribution in midweek.

Up front, there is a doubt over Ollie Palmer who has a damaged toe.

That means on-loan Pompey youngster Dan Thompson is pushing for a start to take on his old team.

The 18-year-old striker joined the Blues from Hampton & Richmond earlier this month, although it is likely he will remain on the bench.

Midfielder Leon Cashman is still off sick, while wide man Chris Arthur, who signed a new two-year contract this week, is almost certain to figure again.

Hawks: Beazley, Newton, Holland, Pearce, Woodford, McDonald, Arthur, Ryan, Ramsey, Hinshelwood, Igoe, Jones, Thompson, Palmer, White, Norton.