Our summer study of the new opponents joining us in the National League moves on and today we take a long trip to the South Coast.
Nickname: The Hawks
Who’s in charge?
Former Portsmouth, Manchester City and Oxford United front man Lee Bradbury has been in charge at Havant & Waterlooville since October 2012.
That marked a return to management for Bradbury who had been working in Pompey’s Academy as he awaited his next chance after spending just over a year in charge at Bournemouth.
He succeeded Eddie Howe on the South Coast when he defected to Burnley in January 2011 and he helped take The Cherries in to the play-offs before leaving in March 2012.
Bradbury began his playing career with Portsmouth, earning a £3million move to Maine Road in 1997 before returning to Fratton Park for another five year stay in 1999.
He subsequently moved on to Walsall, Oxford and Southend United before finishing his career with a four-year spell at Bournemouth following which he hung up his boots to concentrate on management.
Where do they play?
The Hawks play their football at Westleigh Park which was home to Havant Town from 1982 onwards before the merger with Waterlooville FC who played at the now extinct Jubilee Park.
A lot of work has gone in over the years to ensure Westleigh Park is an excellent venue for football and it currently holds 5,250, of which 560 are seats.
How did they get here?
Havant & Waterlooville won the National League South title in dramatic fashion last season to clinch a spot in the fifth tier of English football for the first time in their history.
An incredible finish to the Conference South season went right to the wire as both The Hawks and title rivals Dartford put together brilliant sequences of form during the run-in.
The two clubs were neck and neck ahead of the final weekend but an 87th-minute goal from Jason Prior secured Havant & Waterlooville a 3-2 win over Concord Rangers and won promotion ahead of Dartford on goal difference alone.
It was an impressive second consecutive promotion for the South Coast outfit, who also won the Isthmian League title in 2016/17.
When did we last meet?
The new season will be the first time that the two clubs have met in competitive action.
When do we play them?
The National League fixtures for the 2018/19 campaign are due to be released later in June.
“It’s been a rapid rise for Havant & Waterlooville and it will be interesting to see how they cope with the next step up after two successive promotions.
“You can’t ignore what a brilliant job Lee Bradbury has done there, especially with the way they held their nerve during a tense run-in to secure the title last season.
“It will be a long trip for us, there’s no doubt about that, but it sounds like they have a good set-up up there so we will look forward to the game if not the journey!”