Paulsgrove relishing Hawks test
Steve Hird insists Paulsgrove won't be overawed by the occasion when they travel to the Hawks in the Portsmouth Senior Cup tonight (7.45pm).
The Hampshire League premier division outfit travel to Westleigh Park confident they can get a result against their National League South opponents in the quarter-finals of the competition.
Paulsgrove knocked out Southern League east division side Moneyfields in the previous round and have won their past 10 matches.
Despite playing five levels below the Hawks, Hird believes his troops can cause an upset.
He said: ‘We are not going to Westleigh Park to roll over for the Hawks – we will give it 110 per cent.
‘We showed in the last round when we won at Moneyfields that we can take on sides at a higher level.
‘The players are looking forward to the occasion and are keen to enjoy it.
‘It is as a big reward for everything they have put in.
‘The spirit in the team is fantastic with all the players willing to work hard for each other.
‘We have some good experience and some exciting youngsters in the side.
‘Confidence is high in the camp having won our past 10 games.
‘We are second in our league with games in hand and are still in four cup competitions.’
The local cup tie comes at an awkward time for the Hawks, however.
Lee Bradbury’s attention is fixed on the busy league schedule over the Christmas period.
The Westleigh Park manager has made promotion from National League South his priority, with his men currently sitting fourth – just two points off the top.
He is mindful how costly his side’s recent Hampshire Senior Cup success at Moneyfields proved.
In that 3-0 victory, Alfie Rutherford limped out with a knee problem and, as a result, the forward has been sidelined since.
A number of Hawks players also picked up bookings in the clash.
To avoid any more unnecessary injuries or suspensions, Bradbury will be giving some of his young talents a chance to shine against Paulsgrove.
He said: ‘The defeat at Billericay took a lot out of us.
‘The players were out on their feet at the end because of the effort they put in.
‘I have not got 11 different players to field so it will have to be a mix of senior and youth team players.
‘We have got three big games over Christmas and the priority for me is the nine league points on offer.
‘Our squad is small so I have to mange my resources carefully.’
Bradbury is unlikely to risk defender Rory Williams, who is a booking away from a two-game ban.
Entry into the last-eight game at Westleigh Park is on a donation basis.