Hawks keen to extend unbeaten record as they face Bognor
THE Hawks are determined to start the new year where they left off the old by extending their long unbeaten run in National League South.
A win or draw against Bognor at Nyewood Lane today (3pm) will stretch that run to 11 games.
Also if league leaders Dartford slip up, a win could propel Lee Bradbury’s team to the top of the table.
The Hawks and the Rocks slugged out a 0-0 draw at Westleigh Park on Boxing Day and the return promises to be an equally close-fought affair.
The visitors, however, boast a strong record away from home in the league having lost just once all season on their travels.
They will also relish the outstanding playing surface of the home pitch after the mud bath of the first meeting last month.
Relegation-battling Bognor showed in that game they are prepared to fight for their lives.
Both teams had good chances to win the match though a draw was a fair result in the end.
Bradbury is expecting an equally hard-fought contest today.
The visitors are forced to make one change with defender Rory Williams ruled out by suspension.
Williams has been a potent threat down the left flank and his attacking runs will be badly missed.
Dan Strugnell and Alfie Rutherford are also longer-term absentees through injury.
The Hawks, however, are boosted by the return to fitness of captain Brian Stock.
Stock played a part in the first game as a second-half substitute and could be recalled to the starting line-up.
His presence could prove influential in the heat of a derby contest.
The first encounter became a little feisty on occasions and there is sure to be the same degree of intensity.
Striker Jason Prior, who had a good spell with the Rocks previously, can expect another 90 minutes of close attention from home central defender Sami El-Abd.
At times the contest between the two physical players was bruising.
Prior will be keen to come out on top this time and add to his goal tally.
Equally, the Hawks will be looking to keep their former winger Ben Swallow in check.
Bradbury’s side know all about the threat he can provide when he is on his top form with his ability on the flank.
Hawks: Young, Woodford, Harris, Rose, Robinson, Carter, Fogden, Lewis, Stock, Tarbuck, Prior, Tubbs, Molyneaux, Widdrington, Hayter, Barker