Exciting match against Hemel is perfect way for Havant & Waterlooville to mark Non League Day celebration

Bradley Tarbuck is getting close to a Hawks return. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Bradley Tarbuck is getting close to a Hawks return. Picture: Habibur Rahman
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Hawks are hoping for a bumper attendance as they celebrate Non League Day with a mouthwatering National League South top-of-the-table clash against Hemel Hempstead Town at Westleigh Park on Saturday (3pm).

It is third versus second in what promises to be a titanic contest, writes Kevin Ricketts.

Non League Day was launched in 2010 to coincide with an international break in a bid to attract more fans to games.

Since then, the idea has grown with many clubs experiencing increased crowds.

Many clubs introduce special offers, discounts and special events to take place on the day.

Though the Hawks are not planning anything different, they expect the importance of the game will bring in the fans – with the hosts averaging more than 1,400 for home games so far this season.

Hawks’ lowest gate for a league game is the 1,348 who saw Welling’s visit, while their best was the 1,572 who watched a 0-0 stalemate with Hampton & Richmond Borough.

Manager Paul Doswell is keen to see his side get back to winning league ways in front of their own fans.

Their last home National South encounter ended in a 3-1 defeat against Braintree Town a month ago.

Since then, however, the Hawks have produced an impressive 4-1 win at table-topping Wealdstone.

They have also disposed of lower division pair Taunton Town and Hadley in the FA Cup.

Doswell knows his team will need to be on their game against tough opponents.

‘It couldn’t be a better game for Non League Day,’ said the Hawks manager.

‘Hemel Hempstead have made a great start and have a side full of experienced players.

‘They have also just signed Adam Cunnington from Dartford.

‘We have won three games in a row and must look to build and try to make that seven or eight.

‘The players have all been working hard towards achieving this.

‘It hasn’t been easy at home this season with teams coming, sitting in and trying to hit us on the break.

‘To counter that we have to move the ball quicker and get it wide.

‘One thing we have not done is start games well enough, especially at home.

‘We must look to take the game to our opponents from the start.’

Hemel start the game two points clear of Hawks, and having won their past three league games.

Recent signing Craig Robson comes into the squad for the first time, having been cup-tied last weekend.

Wes Fogden and Bradley Tarbuck were back running this week after injury.

There is an outside chance Tarbuck could be included, but Fogden may need another week or two.

Roarie Deacon, meanwhile, is due to see a consultant to organise surgery on his hip injury.