Pressure off relegated Havant & Waterlooville… Ebbsfleet United test as Lee Bradbury wants players to signal intent for next season
Lee Bradbury wants the Hawks to end their Vanarama National League campaign with a winning flourish starting against Ebbsfleet United at Westleigh Park on Good Friday (3pm).
Defeat at Solihull Moors last weekend confirmed relegation for the Hawks.
It means a quick return to National South after just one season at the top level of non-league football.
Bradbury is naturally disappointed but still determined to see his team finish on a positive note.
He insists there will be no let up in their final three games.
They travel to Aldershot, who have also been relegated, on Easter Monday and bring the curtain down at home against Barnet next Saturday.
Bradbury believes his team still have plenty to play for and they need to show what they can do with the planning for next season in mind.
The Hawks manager said: ‘We still want to win every game we play in.
‘It is all about professional pride and now with our fate already sealed it might take a bit of pressure off.
‘The players should be able to relax a bit more and play without any tension.
‘They should have more freedom to go out and play their game.
‘We have played reasonably well at home without getting the results we deserved.
‘Ebbsfleet will be tough because they are still in with a chance of making the play-offs.
‘They will be coming to us with plenty at stake.
‘We are all still hurting from relegation but are determined to pick things up and head into the summer in a positive manner.’
Not for the first time this season Bradbury is forced to reshuffle his side because of injuries.
Loanees Harry Donovan and Danny McNamara were both injured training with their parent club Millwall during the week.
Andreas Robinson also aggravated a groin injury in training while Jordan Rose is ruled out for the rest of the season.
Bradbury views it as a chance for others to come in and prove themselves.
The Hawks are keen to make sure they maintain their position at the top of the relegated clubs.
In the past clubs in that position have been reprieved because of clubs dropping out at the higher level.
There are currently a number of clubs in difficulties in both the Football League and National League.
Though it is unlikely Bradbury wants to make sure his team are in that position if anything does happen.
‘There is always a chance of clubs getting a reprieve and we have seen it happen before,’ added the Hawks boss.
‘We need to make sure we do what we need to do and finish fourth from bottom.
‘Then we can see where that takes us.’