Nicholas Bignall challenges against Eastbourne on Saturday
HUNGERFORD TOWN manager Bobby Wilkinson is looking for his side to produce a positive reaction to its first National League defeat when it embarks on a gruelling Bank Holiday programme of two games in 48 hours.
Saturday’s first-ever trip to Dartford’s Princes Park stadium and a likely 1,000-plus crowd will be followed on Monday by the visit to Bulpit Lane of a powerful Hemel Hempstead Town side that will be stung after being thrashed 5-0 at new leaders Maidenhead United last week and keen to lay its Berkshire ‘bogey’.
Hungerford have their own 2-0 home setback to Eastbourne Borough to shake off, and says Wilkinson: “The boys are positive and the team spirit is the best I’ve seen in years.
“Did we learn from Saturday? Yes. Could we have done better at certain things? Yes. But we’ll learn from that.
“We’ve already forgotten about Saturday and now it's back to the business of getting points over the weekend.”
Hungerford have had former West Ham and Reading defender Anton Ferdinand joining them for training this week. “It gave everyone a boost,” said manager, “just seeing him out there training with us. He took part in all of the session and trained hard.
“I asked chairman Nigel Warrick if he could come up with £20k a week to sign him!”
Hungerford have no major injury concerns ahead of the game with winger Alan O’Brien back in training following his summer hernia operation but still working towards fitness.
WHILE second in the table Hungerord were being knocked out of their slot by Eastbourne last week, early leaders Weston-Super-Mare were dragged off top spot by the Dartford side Hungerord face in Kent on Saturday.
It was Dartford’s first league win of the season following a single goal defeat at Whitehawk and three draws, two of those at home to Wealdstone and Gosport and the other at Chelmsford.
The return from injury of summer signing and target man Duane Ofori-Acheampong provided a boost, though no goals and a couple of misses, but fellow close season arrival Luke Wanadio was on target as Dartford got off the mark in their bid to improve upon last season’s eighth place in their first season following relegation.
Manager Tony Burnam will be hoping that signals a change of fortune for his side, which sustained six injuries and two sendings off in the opening 10 days of the campaign, and he will have fingers crossed that skipper and last season’s top scorer from midfield, Elliott Bradbrook, can shake off an ankle injury earlier than was at first feared.
Dartford share their well-appointed Princes Park stadium with Greenwich Borough, and supporters looking for a warm-up can try their hands, or fete, at Footgolf, which is as it sounds - playing ‘golf’ with a football and appropriately sized holes! Allow 90 minutes for a game. It costs a tenner.
DARTFORD are rated around 5/4 for Saturdays game with Hungerford’s odds on the 2/1 mark with 5/2 the draw.
You could get 9/1 for Hungerford to win 1-0 while the lowest correct score price is 11/2 for a 1-1 draw.