Hawkins’ joy at cup victory ahead of tough league double

Joint managers Nick Hawkins and Chris Shaw
Joint managers Nick Hawkins and Chris Shaw

Joint-boss Nick Hawkins revelled in Eastwood Town’s FA Cup progress this week – and then turned his attention to an emotional reunion with one of his former clubs in the league.

The Badgers won 1-0 at Loughborough Dynamo in the preliminary round on Saturday to set up a clash at Gresley FC on September 14.

And with nearly £2,000 in the bank and an attractive tie to look forward to, Hawkins was delighted with the weekend’s work.

He said: “The FA Cup is really important on so many levels so to get a win is fantastic.

“I felt we dominated most of the game and should really have won more comfortably, but Loughborough have been doing well and it was a tough draw so I’m delighted to be through.

“Gresley is a good draw for us and it’s a club I know well having played for them so we’ll look forward to it.”

It’s another of Hawkins’ former clubs who will provide Eastwood’s next opposition as Chasetown arrive at Coronation Park in the league on Saturday.

Hawkins had a successful two years at the West Midlands club, including helping them to the FA Cup third round, and says he is relishing the test.

“I had the best two years of my life there football wise and it’s a club very close to my heart,” he said.

“I’ve lots of friends still there and I’m sure there will be plenty of banter flying around but even though it’ll be an emotional day, I’m really looking forward to it and would love to win.”

The Badgers will be without several key players for Saturday’s game, with captain Gavin Hurren at a wedding, Carl Slater and Anthony Newton injured, Paul Riley suspended and Rich Whyman also missing.

Hawkins added: “We’re missing big players but we have a strong squad, something that’ll be crucial as the season goes on.”

Those players are expected to return for the long trip to Goole AFC on Tuesday, with Hawkins acutely aware of how tough a test the trip to Yorkshire will be.

He said: “It’s a horrible place to go with a wide open ground and a long trip, so it won’t be pretty but it’ll be a great test of our mentality. I played there five times and lost every time.

“Goole have started well but we fear nobody. I’ve challenged the players to aim at winning ten points a month and if we can start with a few points against Chasetown and Goole that would be fantastic.”