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Henry Deacon previews the biggest game of the Hawks’ season so far as the first round looms.

Havant and Waterlooville are potentially 90 minutes away from the dream factory that is the first round proper of the Emirates FA Cup but before they can dream of that they must try and get past Maidenhead United who have had a great start to life in the National League.

Tale of the tape:

Maidenhead United as stated in the introduction have had a flying start took life in the 5th tier even if they have hit the breaks recently. Having beaten the likes of Hartlepool United and Tranmere Rovers already this term and sit above both of those sides in the National League standings sitting pretty in the mid table position of 12th. But since drawing the Hawks in the FA Cup they have conceded 7 goals in two matches losing 4-0 away to Torquay United and then last weekend drawing 3-3 at home to Aldershot in front of a bumper crowd.

The Hawks go into the tie having drawn 1-1 against Concord Rangers. Although the Hawks’ league form of late has been patchy they have been loving life in the cup with a hard fought 2-1 win at home to Merthyr Town they then beat Hayes & Yeading United convincingly 4-0 in the last round to qualify for this stage.

Head to head:

Neither side have ever met in the FA Cup under the Hawks’ current incarnation however Havant Town did defeat Maidenhead United twice 1-0 in the competition.

In the last 9 seasons Maidenhead United have only made the FA Cup first round twice whilst the Hawks have made it on one further occasion in the same period. With this year's cup run being the tenth anniversary from the greatest of them all as the Hawks lost out to Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool at Anfield after leading twice.

Gaffers voice:

Speaking after last week's draw against Concord, manager Lee Bradbury said that “we're in a good frame of mind. We go there and work as hard as we did (against Concord) and show show a bit more quality then we can cause the, problems. It's a game that is a free hit for us and there's not many people expecting to see us win so we’ll go to Maidenhead, give it everything we got and see where it takes us.”

Injury news:

Brian Stock will still be out for a few weeks after undergoing surgery on his knee earlier this week. After a injury in a previous Cup tie against Merthyr Town George Barker is back in the Hawks’ fold whilst striker Alfie Rutherford will also be available after gaining an FA Cup whack himself against Hayes & Yeading.

Ticket & ground news:

Entrance at York Road is £15 for Adults, £10 Comcessions with Under 16’s getting in for a fiver. The Alan Devonshire suite is open for all supporters tomorrow as fans of both clubs are able to sample their new function room. The stripes bar is also open for a pre match pint with the pub showing BT Sport.

The ground itself is based in the town centre walking past the heritage centre on the right and then crossing the road. The entrance to the ground is clearly signed. Although the main entrance in York Road although there is also an entrance in Bell Street. Programmes are £2 with 50/50 tickets also available for sale.

Media coverage:

The clubs official radio station Hawks Radio will as always provide their unrivalled commentary as the Hawks try to make the first round. BBC Solene have online commentary along with updates across social media should you not make tomorrow's game.

In conclusion:

The Hawks head up to play their biggest game of their season against a Maidenhead side who are riding on the crest of a wave following a sensational promotion from the National League South last season. Despite coming into the games as an underdog, the Hawks are determined to prove the bookies and the doubters wrong as they try and head back into the first round proper.

If you can travel up to the game please do as the club would appreciate your support for such a big game for the club.

Henry Deacon

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