THE HAWKS have the best defensive record in Vanarama National League South and Jordan Rose insists they aim to keep it that way.
Rose is confident they can chalk up a fourth clean sheet in five games as they welcome Gloucester City to Westleigh Park on Tuesday (7.45pm).
The rugged defender is keen to see the Hawks capitalise on one of their games in hand on leaders Dartford.
He said: ‘We go into every game convinced we can keep a clean sheet.
‘If we do then we give ourselves every chance of winning.
‘At Hemel Hempstead we came away with a good point but afterwards it felt like a loss to us.
‘That shows just how far we have come as a team.
‘As a defender I pride myself on keeping clean sheets.
‘It is the equivalent of strikers scoring goals.
‘We pride ourselves on being hard to break down and our recent record speaks for itself.
‘It is not just the back four that is responsible.
‘We defend as a team from front to back.
‘The lads up top work tirelessly to win the ball back and relieve a lot of the pressure.’
The Hawks have two successive home games with East Thurrock United making the journey to the south coast on Saturday for another important league contest.
Two wins could take the Hawks top but Gloucester City won’t be easy to beat.
Though they are battling against relegation a change of manager has led to a recent improvement.
They may set out to defend in numbers and Hawks must be patient if that happens.
Rose points out that if they fail it won’t be due to a lack of preparation.
He added: ‘I don’t think I have ever been better prepared at any club before.
‘Our management do their homework thoroughly.
‘They always sit down with us and go through the strengths and weaknesses of our opponents.
‘That stretches to each individual player and then we look to exploit their weaknesses.
‘Now when we come up against strong physical teams we are aware before what to expect. Because of that it isn’t an issue.
‘We have shown in these games, like against Hungerford, that we can deal with it.
‘In every game it is all about winning your battles, headers and tackles.
‘At 6ft 4in and 16 stone I like to think it is an area where I can compete.
‘That is how you keep clean sheets.
‘This is big because it is one of the games in hand on the teams above us.’
Striker Alfie Rutherford is back in contention after illness.
Hawks: Young, Rose, Woodford, Harris, Williams, Stock, Lewis, Fogden, Tubbs, Prior, Tarbuck, Strugnell, Carter, Robinson, Hayter, Rutherford, Molyneaux