Nanetti gamble could be winner for Hawks

Christian Nanetti Picture: Dave Haines
Christian Nanetti Picture: Dave Haines
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Wing-wizard Christian Nanetti can prove to be the ace in the Hawks pack as they entertain Ebbsfleet United in the third round of the FA Trophy tomorrow (3pm).

The Italian-born midfielder, who spent the summer playing in the World Poker Championships in Las Vegas, has been out with a hamstring injury for over a month.

Now manager Lee Bradbury has to decide whether to take a gamble with his potential match-winner and replace the suspended Nic Ciardini.

If Bradbury decides it is too big a risk, he also has the option of using Steve Ramsey or Alek Przespolewski.

With a place in the Trophy quarter-finals at stake, the Westleigh Park boss will want to get it right.

‘If Christian is fit then we know his attacking play can give us a different dimension,’ said Bradbury.

‘He can be a game-winner on the day but has had four or five weeks seeing a specialist.

‘I have to decide whether he is ready for me to call upon.’

The Hawks have already knocked three Skrill South sides out of this year’s competition and are looking to add the scalp of Ebbsfleet to their impressive tally.

It is the first time, though, Bradbury’s side have been drawn at home – and they are keen to make the most of that advantage.

Ebbsfleet are expected to bring three coaches full of supporters and a big crowd is expected, with the victors moving to within two wins of a Wembley final.

It is a tantalising prospect and one that Bradbury hopes will capture the imagination of the local football community.

With Pompey playing away at Oxford, he is looking to attract some Blues fans to what promises to be an exciting spectacle.

‘We are in the last 16 and this is a big game for the club,’ said Bradbury.

‘We haven’t played for a while now but this is a mouthwatering tie for all involved at both clubs.

‘It is believed Ebbsfleet are bringing good support, so the more people we can have here getting behind our team the better it will be.

‘We are only two ties away from getting to Wembley, so the more people we can get up here cheering us on would be fantastic.

‘It would get the players revved up and bring some cup fever back to Westleigh Park.

‘We want to make it tough for Ebbsfleet.

‘Both teams like to play the game the right way and I am expecting a full-blooded cup tie.

‘It has all the ingredients of being a cracking game of football.’

The Hawks forced a 0-0 draw at Ebbsfleet on the opening day of the season but both teams feel they have gone from strength to strength since then.

Both are in outstanding form.

Ebbsfleet have won seven of their past nine games, while the Hawks are unbeaten in nine outings.

Hawks: Bevan, Newton, Harris, Monteiro, Blanchett, Strugnell, Atangana, Ryan, Nanetti, Oli, Kabba, Jones, Ramsey, Przespolewski, Woodford, Hutchinson, Searle