Strugnell blow adds to Hawks’ woes

Hawks defender Dan Strugnell Picture: Allan Hutchings
Hawks defender Dan Strugnell Picture: Allan Hutchings
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Defensive woes continue to pile up for the Hawks ahead of their Vanarama National League South visit to Margate (3pm).

Defender Dan Strugnell is the latest addition to the injury list – joining Ed Harris and Lee Molyneaux – forcing manager Lee Bradbury into yet another reshuffle at the back.

The central-half limped off with a calf injury in the first half against St Albans City last weekend and is unlikely to be fit for the long trip to Kent.

And adding to Bradbury’s problems, Pompey loanee defender Calvin Davies is still out of contention because of an injury he sustained in the FA Youth Cup for the Blues last week.

The Hawks boss admitted the situation is far from ideal as his team still search for their first away win of the season.

‘We are down to the bare bones and the options open to me are very limited,’ said Bradbury.

‘In my whole time as a manager, I have never experienced a situation like it.

‘We just seem to be getting one injury after another and in the same positions.

‘More often than not I have had to plug gaps with people playing out of position.

‘One of the main reasons we are where we are in the league has been our inability to field a consistent back-four.

‘There has been no continuity.’

Experienced defender Harris won’t play again until the new year at the earliest, while Molyneaux is close but not quite ready to come back.

That leaves Bradbury with some difficult decisions to make.

He has to decide whether young defender Manny Monthe is ready to take his place alongside Brian Dutton in the heart of the defence.

Monthe was taken off in the first half of the 2-1 defeat by Wealdstone, after enduring a difficult time against experienced striker Jefferson Louis.

However, the ex-QPR graduate was back in action in the midweek Portsmouth Senior Cup win at United Services Portsmouth.

Alternatively, Bradbury might stick with the option he used against St Albans, when he replaced Strugnell with Harry Medway.

Jake Thomson filled in at full-back and did an excellent job.

The Hawks are expecting another difficult afternoon against a Margate side just one place and a single point behind them in the league table.

The manager knows they will be up against a team determined to leapfrog above them in the standings.

‘We have already won against them at Westleigh Park this season so we know we are capable of beating them,’ added Bradbury.

‘I feel we have turned the corner with our recent performances but need to convert that into results.

‘It is important we get something from this game and if possible chalk up that first elusive away win in the league.

‘We will have to keep working hard, though, because Margate will see this as an opportunity to go above us.’

If matters weren’t bad enough, the Hawks have also lost striker Shamir Mullings to injury.

The youngster grabbed a hat-trick in the 8-0 Portsmouth Cup win but discovered afterwards he has badly bruised ligaments in his foot.

Hawks: Young, Blanchett, Medway, Dutton, Thomson, Monthe, Stock, Donnelly, Clifton, Swallow, Paterson, Hayter, Morgan, Azeez, Cummings