Palmer plans to fire Hawks into play-offs

Aiming high: Hawks striker Ollie Palmer   Picture: Dave Haines
Aiming high: Hawks striker Ollie Palmer Picture: Dave Haines
Brett Poate

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GOAL-MACHINE Ollie Palmer is hoping to help fire the Hawks into the Blue Square Bet South play-offs.

The league’s leading goalscorer grabbed a hat-trick at Hayes & Yeading on Easter Monday, taking his tally to 25 for the season.

That made it 10 goals in seven games and the hitman is out to continue his hot streak at struggling Maidenhead United tomorrow (3pm).

Remarkably, Palmer has been battling with a chest infection for the past fortnight and climbed out of his sick bed to play the previous two games.

He was named Blue Square Bet South player of the month for March – an award he fully deserved.

And the 23-year-old is hoping more success is still to come this term.

‘We are on a roll as a team and are playing well,’ said Palmer.

‘There is a 100-per-cent belief in the squad that we can still make the play-offs.

‘We still have to play one of our closest rivals, Boreham Wood, twice and if we can pick up at least three points it will give us a chance.

‘At the moment we are only four points off the play-offs and just have to keep winning.

‘If we can do that then nothing can stop us.

‘I have been ill for the past week but, thankfully, I am starting to come through it.’

Palmer is the first to admit that his goals stem from an increasing confidence running through the team.

Away from home, the Hawks look solid and resilient while possessing a potent attacking threat up front.

The return to form of Steve Ramsey, who has bagged two goals in as many games, in midfield is also making a big difference.

Ramsey showed again against Hayes & Yeading that he has regained his appetite and is eager to be involved.

More importantly, Hawks manager Lee Bradbury has organised his squad so that he has increased options to make changes during matches.

When Hayes & Yeading began to gain the midfield ascendancy at the start of the second half on Monday, Bradbury sent on the experienced figures of Eddie Hutchinson and Pedro ‘Pele’ Monteiro to play in front of the back four.

Hutchinson’s competitive edge and Pele’s composure on the ball make a big difference when the Hawks come under pressure. And Bradbury still has to introduce the imposing figure of Argentinian defender Carlos Cruz Gotta.

Maidenhead gave the Hawks a difficult second 45 minutes at Westleigh Park last week and Palmer expects it to be just as tough again.

‘They are fighting for their lives and will come at us,’ he said.

‘We know we won’t be able to relax and take our foot off the gas.

‘To get the right result we will have to remain resilient and be ruthless when we get our chances.’

HAWKS: Masters, Newton, Arthur, Harris, Strugnell, Grant, Arthur, Ramsey, Ryan, Nanetti, Palmer, Kabba, Jones, Monteiro, Bossman, Weekes, Gotta.