By Sam Elliott
LEE BRADBURY believes lessons have been learned from the last time Havant & Waterlooville were in the National League South.
The Hawks, powered by a big playing budget in the 2015-16 season, were relegated following a terrible year.
Havant chairman Derek Pope made a big decision that summer and he stuck with his manager despite one of the club’s worst ever seasons.
They repaired the damage last year, winning the Ryman Premier to return automatically to Step 2.
The Hampshire club have started the new season with vigour and there seems little danger of a struggle like the last time they were in the division.
Bradbury has always been grateful for the support he was given in the club’s darkest hour and two excellent wins over the Bank Holiday weekend sees the club sitting in the play-off places.
He said: “I think you are always learning lessons in football, everyone is, and I’m no different.
“I’m learning all the time and yes, we took stock of what happened the last time we were in the National League South and hopefully we won’t see a repeat of that.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play under some really good managers. Like Harry Redknapp, Terry Venables and Eddie Howe when he was just getting started. You take a bit from everybody.
“Last season we did what was asked of us and if we can carry on using the momentum from winning the Ryman League then fantastic.
“We feel we have put another good squad together and I’m pleased with the start we’ve made.”
Especially away from home, where Havant have yet to let in a goal. It was a far cry from the last time they played in the National League South, where their form on the road weighed them down and ultimately dragged them under.
They are getting better at home too. Havant beat Whitehawk 4-0 on Monday, a result which saw counterpart Jimmy Dack quit the Enclosed Ground hours after the heavy loss.
“The results have not been as good at West Leigh Park but Monday was pleasing,” the Hawks manager said.
“We are looking hard to beat on our travels and it’s been an encouraging start as we knew it would be difficult stepping up. So far, we’ve done quite well.
“It’s five clean sheets in seven games so far – any manager will be delighted with that. I really want us to build on this and if we do, we give ourselves a chance.”