Stock back to give the Hawks a crucial boost

Brian Stock
Brian Stock
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The Hawks are boosted by the return of their captain Brian Stock for their second round FA Trophy tie against Welling United at Westleigh Park.

Stock missed the 2-0 league defeat at Hemel Hempstead through suspension following his Boxing Day sending off at Gosport Borough.

Manager Lee Bradbury is relieved to have his most experienced midfield player and leader back on the pitch.

His presence could prove crucial as the Hawks look to beat Conference National opponents for the second successive round.

‘We need Brian’s experience in the midfield because he is prepared to lead by example,’ said Bradbury.

‘He has put in good performances during a difficult period for us and is prepared to battle.

‘Though we played okay at Hemel Hempstead we missed him because it limited our options.

‘We are a better team with him in the side.’

Both teams come into the game low on confidence and struggling in their leagues.

Welling suffered a 4-0 home mauling at the hands of Grimsby Town in their last outing and could be vulnerable.

The Hawks have reserved their best performances this season for cup games where they have done well against Conference National opponents.

Bradbury’s team held Conference National leaders Cheltenham Town to a 3-3 draw at Westleigh Park before losing out in a replay.

They then beat second-placed Forest Green Rovers in the last round of the Trophy.

Bradbury admits he would swap success in any of the cup competitions for 10 more league points.

Having said that he also believes this is a game his team can win if they are on their top form.

‘We have raised our game against teams from a higher level this season,’ said Bradbury.

‘There is no reason for us to be overawed by Welling.

‘I set out to try and win every game we play and we have shown already that with hard work we can match these teams.

‘Certainly our best chance is at home.

‘Neither team will want a replay with all the fixtures that need catching up on.’

Portsmouth loanee defender Jack Whatmough is likely to continue his rehabilitation from the bench.

The manager has hinted at changes which could see Ben Swallow, James Hayter and Marvin Morgan in line for a return to the starting line-up.

Hawks: Young, Medway, Strugnell, Molyneaux, Hill, Stock, Lewis, Donnelly, Paterson, Ciardini, Dutton, Hayter, Morgan, Mullings, Blanchett, Cummings, Thomson, Swallow.

n Gosport Borough were not able to rearrange their match with Wealdstone for tomorrow.

The National League South game is scheduled for Monday at the The Stadium (7.45pm).