Hawks warned they must build on feel-good factor

Ollie Palmer is in contention for a start against Salisbury tonight Picture: Dave Haines
Ollie Palmer is in contention for a start against Salisbury tonight Picture: Dave Haines
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Gosport have taken a lift from Craig McAllister's leadership. Picture: Keith Woodland

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Caretaker-manager Steve Johnson is challenging his Hawks players to hold their nerve against Salisbury City at Westleigh Park tonight (7.45pm).

The Hawks gave their stand-in boss a winning start at Truro City at the weekend and he knows another three points is vital in their bid to stay in Blue Square Bet South.

Johnson and assistant Adie Aymes took the reins last week after the departure of Shaun Gale – and already the side are displaying a greater resolve.

‘We had a good week, culminating in our excellent performance and result at Truro,’ said Johnson.

‘The challenge now is to make sure that isn’t wasted.

‘We have impressed upon the players that everything they have achieved can be easily undone.

‘It is all about them maintaining their standards and discipline.

‘They showed at Truro, on a difficult playing surface and in a tricky wind, that they can do it.’

Johnson also paid tribute to Gale’s work in the transfer market before his exit.

‘When the home side put us under pressure we showed that we can deal with it, which hasn’t always been the case,’ said Johnson.

‘I think that is down in part to Shaun Gale’s legacy with his last three signings.

‘Joe Dolan, Eddie Hutchinson and Christian Nanetti have brought greater stability to the team.

‘Beating Truro was important to us and can give us confidence going into our crucial last five games.

‘The players have shown that they are totally committed to keeping us in the league.’

Johnson is boosted by the return of suspended pair, Perry Ryan in midfield and striker Ollie Palmer, which gives him a full-strength squad to choose from tonight.

In the past, there has been a reluctance to change a winning team but Johnson is unlikely to fall into that trap.

If he decides to make changes, it is likely to be up front.

That could mean a return for Palmer in a bid to give the side a greater cutting edge.

‘ It is all about playing with pride and passion,’ said Johnson.

‘Again, we will need to out-work the opposition

‘We know that if we can get our regular supply lines going, then we have the players to hurt the opposition.’

Hawks: Thomas, Newton, Dolan, Pearce, Arthur, Hinshelwood, Hutchinson, Ramsey, Igoe, Nanetti, Palmer, Jones, Ryan, Woodford, Holland, Hopkinson, McDonald.