‘Pride, the football club and their futures!’ Havant & Waterlooville players have plenty to fight for in face of seemingly inevitable relegation
Lee Bradbury insists the Hawks players will keep going right to the end of the season.
It looks almost certain that the club are heading for a quick return to National League South after just one season at the top level.
The 2-1 home defeat against Harrogate Town on Saturday left them nine points adrift of safety with just 12 points left to play for.
It is still mathematically possible for Bradbury’s side to stay up but highly unlikely.
The Hawks always knew that National League football was going to be a big ask.
But the manager insists the players still have plenty of motivation to continue to work hard for the rest of the season.
They won’t let the seemingly inevitable relegation stop them from fighting to win games.
‘They are playing for their futures,’ said Bradbury.
‘Staying up will be very difficult and we know that we have to win all four of our remaining games. Even if it becomes mathematically impossible to stay up the players won’t give up.
‘They still have to take pride in their performance and that of the football club.
‘You never know what can happen and we have to make sure that we finish at least fourth from bottom.
‘We have to try to get as many points on the board between now and the end of the season and see what happens.
‘The players are looking for contracts next season whether with us or with other clubs.
‘Also we will be reporting back to the parent clubs of those we have on loan.’
Operating with a part-time squad and a limited budget in a largely semi-professional league was never going to be easy.
The hope was they could finish above four other clubs, maintain their status, and build from there.
Instead it has been a harsh learning curve for the Hawks who in the end have been found wanting.
Chairman Derek Pope’s recent attempt to attract extra investment into the club showed he is fully aware of the problems.
It has proved to be a frustrating period for manager Bradbury who knows his squad have fallen just short.