Hawks will take a look at defensive options

Ed Harris. Picture: Allan Hutchings (150209-363)
Ed Harris. Picture: Allan Hutchings (150209-363)
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Lee Bradbury will be looking hard at his defensive options as the Hawks complete their pre-season against National premier Dover Athletic at Westleigh Park tomorrow (3pm).

The hosts are almost certainly going to be without experienced central defender Ed Harris after he limped off against Bognor in midweek.

We have given Lee the opportunity during the summer and he has lived up to it

Lee Bradbury

Harris damaged ligaments and was on crutches after the game.

If he is ruled out for a lengthy spell it will come as a huge blow for Bradbury.

For the time being, all the manager can do is wait and hope the injury isn’t as bad as it looked.

Bradbury, however, can take some comfort from the performances of new defender Lee Molyneaux during pre-season.

Since arriving from Gosport Borough, Molyneaux has done well and could be seen as the natural replacement for Harris.

‘We have given Lee the opportunity during the summer and he has lived up to it,’ said Bradbury.

‘He has made the move seamlessly and shown himself to be a good defender.

‘His experience has shown on the pitch, where he is a good talker and leader.

‘He wants to play and is certainly knocking at the door.’

The Hawks and Dover met in the FA Trophy last season when an 88th-minute goal sent the latter through after an excellent contest.

The hosts are expecting another stern test, which is what Bradbury wants before opening up in the league at Bishop’s Stortford next weekend.

The visitors are a big, strong, physical, experienced side who will prove difficult to break down.

The boss intends to use the exercise to finalise his plans.

‘Obviously the players have had a lot of minutes through the summer and now is the time to sharpen the stick,’ said Bradbury.

‘In my mind there are still a couple of positions not quite nailed down so I will be looking at that.

‘We are unbeaten so far in pre-season and it would be fantastic to keep that going.

‘Though it is pre-season, that still counts for me with all the confidence that winning games brings.

‘It hasn’t done us any harm and we have had to work hard to get some of the results.

‘We will certainly have to be on our guard against Dover, who possess some quality players.

‘It will be important to deal with them and maintain our solid defence of the last two years.

‘If we can, we want to go into our first league game undefeated all summer.’

Bradbury will also be looking for his team to improve the service to their front men as they go in search for goals of their own.

HAWKS: Young, Cummings, Strugnell, Molyneaux, Dutton, Donnelly, Stock, Clifton, Morgan, Paterson, Hayter, Blanchett, Swallow, Ciardini, Kimber, Medway, Ridge, Searle