Strength in depth key to Hawks' title hopes

Lee Bradbury is hoping the Hawks' excellent away form can fire them back to the top of the Ryman League premier division as they face Staines Town at Wheatsheaf Park tomorrow (3pm).

Friday, 2nd December 2016, 8:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 12:52 pm
Hawks striker Jason Prior Picture: Mick Young

The Hawks have not tasted defeat on the road in the league since the opening day of the season at Leiston.

Since then, they have won five and drawn two games away from Westleigh Park.

That is a massive improvement on last season when the Hawks picked up few points on their travels.

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If they are to gain further success, though, they will have to do it without leading goalscorer Jason Prior.

The striker is suspended following his sending off against Harlow Town in the FA Trophy.

Boss Bradbury said: ‘Jason will be a big miss for us both with his goals and physical presence.

‘He has been a revelation and has scored 16 goals already.

‘We have good options to come in, though, with Matt Paterson and James Hayter waiting in the wings.

‘I am more than confident we have the players who will come in and do a good job.

‘We have shown this season that we are capable of getting good results away from home.

‘That is down to the different players we now have with us.

‘They have shown they are prepared to do that extra bit to support each other.

‘That desire counts for a lot, particularly away from home.

‘At Billericay we faced a huge physical challenge on a difficult pitch but came away with a win.

‘We were not at our best in the opening 45 minutes at Worthing but still came away with the three points.

‘It is always a good sign when you don’t play particularly well but still do that.’

The Hawks lost top spot in midweek when Bognor beat Kingstonian to leapfrog them to the summit.

Bradbury is keen to keep the pressure on the Rocks with a good result at Staines.

He accepts it won’t be easy as Staines are physically strong and possess a lot of pace in their side.

The visitors, however, are boosted by the news that midfielder Wes Fogden is fit again.

Fogden has been dogged by injury so far this season but Bradbury is hoping he can put a run of games together.

‘It has been frustrating for Foggy picking up minor injuries with hamstrings, thigh and groin,’ said Bradbury.

‘The key, is keeping him fit.

‘When he is, his work-rate and quality make a big difference.

‘He stops opponents from playing and a lot of his enthusiasm rubs off on the rest of the team.’

Central defender Ryan Woodford is still ruled out by his shoulder injury so Ed Harris and Lee Molyneaux are expected to continue in the heart of the defence.

Hawks: Young, Strugnell, Harris, Molyneaux, Williams, Lewis, Stock, Fogden, Robinson, Barker, Swallow, Rutherford, Paterson, Prior, Tarbuck, Ridge