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Crusaders fight to get back into the race

Whitehawk trip starts five-match bid to beat the odds

Malcolm Howe



Crusaders fight to get back into the race

HUNGERFORD TOWN head for Sussex by the sea as they bid to keep alive their now outside hopes of snatching a play-off spot in the Vanarama National League South.

Last Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at Poole Town leaves them seven points beyond their rivals in the target fifth spot, and with only five games to go, Crusaders’ task is immense.

After Saturday’as top to Whitehawk, Hungerford face an Easter double at home to Dartford on Good Friday and then a Monday trip to Hemel Hempstead. A penultimate match at Wealdstone and a season’s closer at home to Chelmsford complete a stiff programme, hut Hungerford are not giving up yet.

“We’ll keep fighting to the end,” said manager Bobby Wilkinson. “I’ve spoken to them and the boys want to keep fighting as well. I know it may only be a one per cent chance, but at this stage last season we were sixth and three points behind Kettering, so we have to keep going.

“If we win this week and Poole lose to Chelmsford, we’ll only be three points behind and who knows what could happen?”

Hungerford have lost only twice in 20 matches, and those were at play-off rivals Hampton and title-chasing Ebbsfleet, and although Saturday’s opponents Whitehawk are in the bottom five, they are recovering after a disastrous early season that followed play-off action last term.

They have plenty of experience in their ranks, which include former Southampton and Leeds defender Dan Harding, ex-QPR midfielder Frankie Sutherland and former Wycombe Wanderers and Crawley talisman Sergio Torres, and last month they snapped up former West Ham and QPR forward Hogan Ephraim to join top scorer Danny Mills up front.

Hungerford retain the 16-man squad that has seen them through much of the campaign, and which is minus only hamstring victim Stefan Brown.

What are the odds?

HUNGERFORD are slight favourites at 5/4 with bet365 while Whitehawk are 8/5 and a draw 11/4.

A 1-0 win for either side is priced at 17/2 and 9/1 and if anyone fancies either sided to win 10-0, Paddy Power are offering 500/1.

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