Johnson hails togetherness as Hawks close on new boss

Steve Johnson. Picture: Dave Haines
Steve Johnson. Picture: Dave Haines
Richard Pacquette and Rocky Baptiste (right) celebrate with the Hawks fans after the win against Swansea

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Steve Johnson claims the Hawks have the self belief to beat the drop as the club’s hunt for a new boss gathers pace.

The caretaker manager has led the Hawks to two consecutive Blue Square Bet South victories since Shaun Gale left.

They now hover two points clear of the relegation zone as they prepare to host Dover at Westleigh Park tomorrow (3pm).

As the Hawks aim to take another stride towards safety, chairman Derek Pope has revealed a new manager may be named within two weeks.

The club have been inundated with applications – one of whom is understood to boast Premier League experience.

‘A decision will be made before the end of the season,’ said Pope.

‘We are getting close and speaking with a couple of people.

‘I received dozens of applications, so many, in fact, we have not been able to get back to all of them.

‘I’d like to thank all those who have applied and we will make a decision soon.’

Johnson is determined the new man will be in charge of a Blue Square Bet South team next season.

And he reckons the squad’s belief can prove the key factor in a successful survival push.

‘There is a huge togetherness in the squad at the moment and the trust they have in each other is vitally important,’ said Johnson.

‘Having the couple of days together in the west country over Easter weekend came at the right time.

‘The players had the chance to bond and there was a good camaraderie.

‘That has shown in some of the passages of play we have put together in the past two games.

‘Players are making passes they might not have made before and it has a snowball effect on their confidence.

‘We have tried to give the players the freedom to express themselves and they have responded.

‘A lot of changes haven’t been needed – all we have done is tinker with a few things.’

The increased confidence was evident in the hard-fought 2-1 triumph over Salisbury in midweek.

Some of the Hawks’ passing moves were mesmerising and sliced the Salisbury defence open like a knife through butter.

But they have to maintain their level of performance if they are to stay out of trouble.

‘Few teams can live with us when we play like that,’ added Johnson.

‘We have done well but nothing is guaranteed yet.

‘Being in the bottom three put us under pressure but now we have managed to put that pressure on the other teams around us.

‘We can’t rest on our laurels because we could just as quickly go back.

‘Our fate is in our own hands and it is what we do that is important.’

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

n Meanwhile, Bognor host Whyteleafe in Ryman one south at Nyewood Lane (3pm).