Woodford challenged to make 400 Hawks appearances

Ryan Woodford has making 200 appearances for the Hawks. Picture: Keith Woodland
Ryan Woodford has making 200 appearances for the Hawks. Picture: Keith Woodland
Lee Molyneaux congratulates fellow new signing Jamie Thompson on his goal. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (171572-1)

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LEE BRADBURY has challenged central defender Ryan Woodford to reach 400 appearances for the Hawks.

Woodford chalked off his first 200 in the 1-1 draw at Hungerford Town.

To mark his achievement he was presented with a shirt by Bradbury on the pitch before the home game against Hemel Hempstead Town.

The Isle of Wight defender has established himself as one of the first names on the team sheet with his consistent performances in the heart of the Hawks defence.

Woodford is 26 and has been impressive in the heart of an excellent defence.

Boss Bradbury believes he is a player the Hawks can count on for years to come.

‘He has been a really reliable defender for me over the years,’ said the Hawks boss.

‘Apart from being a good player he is a great lad and the type we need at the club.

‘I said to him when I gave him the shirt to go and get another 200 because he is more than capable of doing it.

‘He is committed and for someone of his size is good in the air. He reads the game well which is invaluable and has proved a rock at the back.

‘We have the second best defensive record in the league and he has played a big part in that.’

Ryan was a product of Pompey’s Academy system initially.

He was released in the summer of 2009 after being a regular fixture in the club’s under-18 side and joined the Hawks shortly after.

Quickly becoming a member of the starting 11, Woodford played 19 games before sustaining an injury at Maidenhead in November 2009.

That kept him off the pitch for all but six games of the 2010-11 season.

Fit again for the start of the 2011-12 campaign, he again began making regular appearances and eventually rose to the position of team captain.

But his time with the Hawks continued to be blighted by injury problems.

The 2013-14 season, however, saw Woodford back to form, and a regular member of the side who by the end of the season had played 117 games overall.

With a total of 132 Hawks games under his belt, Woodford joined Gosport Borough for the 2015-16 season, but as a fan favourite was welcomed back to the Hawks in June 2016.

He has been a regular ever since.

The Hawks are in league action again on Tuesday night when Chelmsford City visit Westleigh Park (7.45pm).

Both teams need a good run of form to get them right in the mix for the play-off positions as they prepare to approach the busy Christmas and new year period of matches.