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Graham Alexander is expecting a challenge when National League North champions Salford City visit National League South champions Havant & Waterlooville.

The two promoted sides meet at Westleigh Park on Saturday in the Vanarama National League, the first ever meeting between the sides.

The Ammies have arguably settled quicker than The Hawks having won the last two games against FC Halifax Town and Chesterfield, which have propelled us up to 12th in the league.

Meanwhile The Hawks managed their first win at Braintree Town last weekend, thanks to injury time goals from Nicke Kabamba and Alfie Rutherford.

However Alexander is confident that his side can build on the last two games in Hampshire, and says that working hard will be the key:

“I felt after the first couple of games that we got to grips with what was expected at this level, what we can expect from the opposition and the last two games have culminated in two very good victories for us.

“I think winning, for any team in the world, breeds confidence, puts smiles on peoples’ faces, not just the supporters but obviously the players and the staff, but we have to put a lot of hard work into winning those games so if we continue to do that we should get the results we deserve. But we know each game is going to be a difficult challenge.”

ALWAYS ROOM TO IMPROVE

Despite picking up maximum points from the last week The Ammies are yet to keep a clean sheet in the league, but Alexander says that the points is a priority, although conceding less goals helps towards that.

“Winning games is the first box you have to tick, if it’s 4-3 we’ll take it, but to give yourself the best chance of winning, the less goals you concede gives you a better chance so that’s what we’ll work on.

“If we concede less goals it gives us chance to win more games. We know that we’ve got enough attacking threats to score goals at this level so it’s something that we’ve looked at.

“Even if we kept 10 clean sheets on the bounce we’d still review it, and analyse it, and work hard on it because it’s important, you have to continually replicate all the things you have to do both on and off the ball, defensively and attacking wise, to make sure you’re fulfilling your full potential.”

FOCUS ON OURSELVES

Keeping goals out is something that The Hawks have struggled with themselves, conceding seven in the last two and 11 in five this season.

But the manager says that it is important we focus on ourselves rather than worry about the opposition:

“I think I haven’t been in a game since I became a manager that hasn’t been competitive. I think that the level of competition throughout the leagues in England is very strong, no matter what division that is. I think everyone is prepared well, fit, organised, got an idea of playing and understand what the opposition are going to bring.

“I prefer to focus on our performances, what we expect from us as a team, as individuals. If we focus on that and get that right we know we’re a difficult team to play against and we can win games so the biggest focus for me is on getting what we need to get right and hopefully the opposition have to change for that.”

Kick-Off is at 15:00 at Westleigh Park. Information for travelling supporters can be found here.

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