Havant & Waterlooville need to banish Christmas misery to turn tables on Barrow

The Hawks must put their Christmas woes behind them when they take on Barrow at Westleigh Park on Saturday (3pm).

Thursday, 3rd January 2019, 11:37 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 11:38 am
Tyler Cordner has extended his loan stay with the Hawks. Picture: Keith Woodland

Lee Bradbury's side endured a miserable run of festive fixtures, going four Vanarama National League games without a win.

They are precariously placed, just one point above the relegation zone.

In contrast, the visitors are on a seven-game unbeaten run in the league.

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They also inflicted a 3-0 defeat on the Hawks on the opening day of the season.

Confidence will be high in their camp that they can complete a league double.

Bradbury, however, will take some encouragement from the Hawks display in the 2-1 defeat at Eastleigh on New Year's Day.

They were unfortunate not to come away with a point after an evenly-contested second half.

The Hawks manager said: '˜It is a tough league and we knew from the start it was going to be a hard season for us.

'˜I liked what I saw at Eastleigh.

'˜The players put a shift in for each other and have to keep doing that to turn some of our draws into wins.

'˜Barrow have kicked on again recently after having a dip since the start of the season.

'˜Their manager has got them playing good, effective football.

'˜In the first game of the season they caught us cold.

'˜At that stage we didn't really know the standard of the league and that showed on the day.

'˜Hopefully we can turn the tables on them.'

Bradbury's biggest problem at the moment is a lack of experience in his team.

This game was to mark Brian Stock's final appearance before retirement but an injury at Hartlepool ruined those plans.

Though he is unlikely to play it will be an emotional farewell for the Hawks captain.

He would love to get a winning send-off.

Stock's decision to retire and join the coaching team at Bournemouth is a huge blow to the Hawks.

It is impossible to find a replacement for a player of his quality and vast experience.

Added to his departure Bradbury's two most experienced defenders Paul Robinson and Ed Harris also have injury problems.

Wes Fogden is yet to make his return to the starting XI after a long period on the sidelines.

It leaves Bradbury with a team that contains few players with any real Football League or National League experience.

Loanee Will Wood has returned to Accrington.

But Bradbury has extended the loan of Bournemouth's Tyler Cordner.