Hawks boss has grounds for concern

Lee Bradbury has concerns about the Westleigh Park pitch after the Hawks saw their National League South game against Gloucester City postponed.

Sunday, 21st January 2018, 4:26 pm
Updated Sunday, 21st January 2018, 4:32 pm
Hawks boss Lee Bradbury. Picture: Habibur Rahman

It is the second time since Christmas the promotion-chasers have lost a home fixture to the weather.

On both occasions rain rendered the surface unplayable.

The Hawks acknowledge there are a couple of areas of the pitch where they have drainage problems.

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Bradbury is desperate to avoid any backlog which could hinder their push for the title or play-off places.

‘Our biggest enemy at the moment is our pitch,’ said the boss.

‘We put the covers on Friday night but the pitch was already too wet from earlier in the week.

‘It is frustrating because after losing at Dartford we wanted to get back playing as soon as possible. We viewed the Gloucester game as a good opportunity to get back to winning ways.

‘The players were raring to go again after the last game. They wanted the chance to put the result right because that was the only thing wrong at dartford.

‘Our performance was good enough but we didn’t get the rub of the green.

‘What I don’t want to happen is for our pitch to cost us and cause us to fall out of the play-off places.’

The Westleigh Park pitch is already having an effect on the way the Hawks approach games.

Away from home, Bradbury’s troops have been remarkable this season – losing only two games.

They have generally found themselves playing on decent surfaces on the road, which has allowed them to play a high-tempo passing game and make it count.

It hasn’t been so easy on their own pitch.

Bradbury added: ‘At home we have had to mix our game up a little bit.

‘We have had to go a bit more direct in order to play the conditions.

‘Hopefully our pitch can recover and we can move forwards.

‘It would be far from ideal if we found ourselves playing catch-up with a backlog of games.

‘The last thing we want is to find ourselves having to play three games a week towards the end of the season but I don’t think it will come to that.’

On a positive note, results elsewhere did the Hawks some favours.

Their close rivals Dartford, Braintree Town, St Albans City and Truro City all dropped points.

Bradbury’s team remain third – four points behind leaders Dartford with two games in hand.

Now the boss is hoping the weather will relent to allow the Hawks to play Tuesday night’s Hampshire Senior Cup tie against Hamble Club.

He wants the players to see some action before next weekend’s key clash at Truro City.

‘We need a game to keep the players match sharp,’ said Bradbury.