Trophy charge can see start of the Hawks’ revival

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Lee Bradbury views the FA Trophy tie against Basingstoke Town at Westleigh Park as another chance for the Hawks to reignite their season tomorrow (3pm).

Both teams are struggling in their league campaign and are desperate for a morale-boosting win.

Scott Donnelly. Picture: Allan Hutchings

Scott Donnelly. Picture: Allan Hutchings

The Hawks knocked Basingstoke out two seasons ago on their way to the semi-finals of the competition.

Bradbury’s team then missed out on a Wembley occasion when they were beaten over two legs by neighbours Gosport Borough.

Neither the Hawks or Basingstoke have met expectations so far this season.

The Dragons are propping up the Vanarama National League South table and the Hawks are just three places above them in 19th position.

‘This is a game where both teams know a good win can trigger further success,’ said Bradbury.

‘Games between the two teams are usually very tight and I don’t see this one being any different.

‘It is a Hampshire derby which gives it that extra bit of spice.

‘If we want to get through we will need to defend a lot better.

‘We have conceded 39 goals in the league and that statistic is alarming.

‘It hasn’t helped that we have had to keep fielding patched up defensive line-ups with little consistency.’

Bradbury is forced to make changes again but this time in midfield where three players are ruled out.

Ebbsfleet loanee Theo Lewis is suspended, Woking loanee Godfrey Poku is cup-tied and Brian Stock has a back injury.

That means Scott Donnelly and Calvin Davies are likely to continue in their midfield roles.

Other midfield options include Adrian Clifton and Jake Thomson but neither have been in the squad for recent games.

Two successive league defeats in the last week have badly dented the Hawks’ confidence.

In both the 3-0 defeat at Sutton United and the 3-2 reverse at Weston-super-Mare the Hawks trailed 2-0 at the break.

Bradbury admits he is experiencing his toughest test since taking charge.

‘It is times like this that you find out about the players and the people around you,’ he added.

‘It is up to us to pull ourselves out of the hole.

‘We will only achieve that by sticking together and working hard.

‘The chairman and the board understand the problems we have had and I don’t feel threatened.

‘All I can do is concentrate on doing what I believe is best for the football club.

‘I only know one way and that is to work hard and try to do the right things.’

Hawks: Young, Strugnall, Dutton, McCarthy, Cummings, Donnelly, Davies, Ciardini, Paterson, Morgan, Hayter, Swallow, Mullings, Blanchett, Molyneaux, Blanchett, Medway, Thomson, Monthe, Clifton.