Prepare to be entertained as Concord Rangers head to Westleigh Park on 'Hawks Non-League Day'

Paul Doswell is predicting plenty of goals when Hawks host National League South rivals Concord Rangers on Saturday.

By Lewis Mason
Thursday, 7th October 2021, 11:18 am
Striker Alex Wall, centre, will miss out against his former club Concord Rangers with a back injury. Picture: Dave Haines
Striker Alex Wall, centre, will miss out against his former club Concord Rangers with a back injury. Picture: Dave Haines

But the Hawks boss is hoping his men come out on top in the battle of defences to get back to winning ways in the league.

High-flying Concord head to Westleigh Park sitting third in the division, having won four of their opening eight league matches, netting 13 times over that period.

In fact, Doswell is an admirer of the style of play manager Chris Search has employed at the Essex club since his arrival in the summer.

But Hawks themselves head into their Concord meeting on the back of an impressive run in front of goal.

They have netted 14 times in their past four games in all competitions, with two FA Cup wins over Beaconsfield and Billericay along with the 6-0 hammering of Winchester City in the Hampshire Senior Cup - although they failed to score in a 1-0 defeat at St Albans in their last National League South game.

But Doswell reckons the goals will be flowing at Westleigh Park again on Saturday for what is being billed as 'Hawks Non-League Day'.

The Hawks boss said: ‘We’re at home here, we want to keep that really good performance from Billericay going - I think it’s going to be a really good game and both teams are going to have a really good go at it.

‘If you look at Concord, they’ve been scoring twos and threes as well - put it this way I’m not expecting a goalless draw.

‘Credit to their new manager and the way he’s trying to play, you can see they’re really well coached in the system they’re playing. It’ll be two teams having a really good go at each other.

‘They’re playing a very open style of football which, when it works for them, they can score goals. They’ve got some technically good players and I think the only reason they’re conceding goals is because they’re aggressive in the way they push numbers forward. Fingers crossed we can defend well and then get our chances.’

Hawks are aiming to attract some of the high gate numbers they had across the 2019-20 season, where they were averaging attendances of 1,398 at Westleigh Park.

And Doswell feels Concord will provide the perfect opposition to making a free-flowing game supporters will enjoy.

He said: ‘I can’t give them enough credit (Concord). They’re on a tight pitch at home, they tend to go long front to back, they’re quite physical and they’ve always, always punched above their budget.

‘The manager this year has brought in his own style of play, you can see it a mile off, I’ve got to say they’re playing some really nice stuff. Again, they’ve brought in some very good players who I know well.’

Alex Wall is ruled out of facing his former club with a back injury while Paul Rooney remains sidelined with an Achilles problem.

In brighter news, striker Tommy Wright is fit-again after suffering with a knee problem in recent weeks and Crawley loanee Manny Adebowale could make a return from a groin issue.

But full-back Benny Read remains a few weeks away from a playing return after being advised by a surgeon to participate in contact training for ‘two to three weeks’ following shoulder surgery.