Westleigh groundstaff poised for busy week

Hawks secretary Trevor Brock. Picture: Dave Haines
Hawks secretary Trevor Brock. Picture: Dave Haines
Craig McAllister. Picture: Keith Woodland

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The Hawks groundsmen will be working overtime this week.

Westleigh Park is set to host three games in four days – including the Royal Navy’s prestigious clash with the Army on Wednesday night.

With Fratton Park not available for the game, the Hawks have stepped in – even though they have two Blue Square Bet South games on the agenda.

Tomorrow night Lee Bradbury’s side host Maidenhead United (7.45pm).

And on Good Friday they welcome Truro City.

Hawks secretary Trevor Brock is confident the pitch will cope with the extra wear and tear – provided the weather holds.

‘It is a big test for the pitch but hopefully the colder weather will firm it up a bit more,’ said Brock.

‘A few years ago we wouldn’t have been able to contemplate this situation because our pitch was a nightmare.

‘Since then, though, we have put a lot of hard work and money into improving it.

‘A couple of seasons ago the problem was a collapsed drain – but we put resources into sorting that out.

‘The recent bad weather has caused problems with the pitches of all the clubs in our league.

‘Our surface at Westleigh Park is regarded as one of the best and we intend to improve it still further.’

Brock reckons staging the army-navy game is a big feather in the club’s cap.

The Hawks have staged a navy clash with the RAF before but the army game has a much bigger profile.

Traditionally, the game has attracted a couple of thousand spectators at Fratton Park and Brock is hoping for a sizeable gate.

The navy are aiming to bounce back after losing their season-opening inter-services game 3-1 against the RAF.

The Hawks, meanwhile, have recently achieved the A grade ground listing – which enables them to play in Blue Square Bet Premier, if they were to earn promotion in the future.

‘Chairman Derek Pope has made improving our ground and facilities a priority,’ said Brock.

‘A lot of people have put in a lot of hard work to get us where we are.

‘Recently we upgraded the floodlights and in theory the ground is good enough to get us into the Football League.

‘If we ever got there a lot of work would be needed on the ground in our first year to keep us there, though.’

The Hawks are keen to get back into action after a two-week break.

Bradbury will introduce new Argentinian centre-back Juan Cruz Gotta against the Magpies tomorrow night.

But plans to include a new loan midfield player have fallen through.

The Hawks boss intended to bring in Josh Carmichael from AFC Bournemouth on a temporary deal.

But he’s picked up an injury – ruling out any move before the loan deadline on Thursday.