Paul Doswell's high praise for 'one of best National League South managers' - and news of Hawks departure
Paul Doswell says he'll be pitting his wits against one of the leading managers at National League South level this weekend.
And the Hawks boss believes he is taking his troops to a Hampton & Richmond side with a serious chance of being in title contention come the end of the season.
Doswell was very complimentary of opposite number Gary McCann and praised the 'incredible hard work' he puts into his Hampton role.
McCann, who is now into his fourth season as boss of the Beavers, saw his side wrap up a mighty impressive 5-0 opening-day win at Eastbourne Borough.
It means Hawks will be making the trip to the team currently sitting top of the table on Saturday, albeit just a solitary game into the new season.
But Doswell says his squad will have no fear facing Hampton - or against any side they come up against this term.
And the Hawks boss reckons the trip provides a good early chance for his new-look group to showcase their credentials.
Doswell said: ‘I know their manager (Gary McCann) very, very well. For this league, I think he’s one of the best managers in the league.
‘I think he works incredibly hard, especially on the opposition, he knows everything the opposition are about and what they do. He’s got his side playing in a really positive way.
‘I think he’s had two years at Hampton with not a lot of budget there. I think what he’s done now is bring in some excellent players.
‘I think they’ll be in the play-offs and if they don’t they’ll only have missed out by a place or two, that’s where I see them.
‘When I say in the play-offs that means I see them as one of the seven who could win it as well.
‘I think after 10 games you get a feel for where you are. Win, lose or draw on Saturday and it doesn’t define our season.
‘It’s our toughest test of the season but we’re only into game two. We’re very confident with what we’re doing, we’re very confident and the lads are very confident of how much work we’ve put into pre-season.
‘We’re not going to go to Hampton and feel that we can’t get something positive out of the game.’
Defender Sam Magri remains unlikely to recover from his calf injury in time to face Hampton.
Fellow centre-half Jamie Collins (hamstring) has resumed light running but is still a few weeks away from being in contention for a place in the squad.
Meanwhile, Christian Rowe has been released from his Hawks contract. The youngster still had a year left to run on the two-year deal he signed last summer but has now departed Westleigh Park.
On his exit, Doswell said: ‘Christian has been released from his contract. It didn’t work out for either party in the end and we’ve released Christian from his contract. He’s not with the club anymore.’