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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 January 2008, 10:39 GMT
Hawks prepare for biggest challenge

By Nabil Hassan

Havant andf Waterlooville celebrate
The Hawks celebrate beating Notts County (all pics by Dave Haines)
Havant & Waterlooville were formed less than 10 years ago, so it is no surprise that their FA Cup tie with Swansea City is being described as the biggest game in their history.

Having dispatched Notts County in the last round and York before them, the Hawks face their most daunting task yet - a trip to south Wales to face the League One leaders.

Havant & Waterlooville were established in June 1998, when Havant Town merged with Waterlooville FC. The Hawks have since accomplished two promotions and only last season lost to Braintree Town in the Conference South play-off semi-finals.


Victories over non-league and league opposition saw the Hawks take their place in the third round draw, and on 5 January the Hampshire club will be making the 200-mile trip down the M4 to face Roberto Martinez's side.

Havant & Waterlooville have already won about 70,000 in prize money and BBC Sport talks to six people connected to the Hawks ahead of the club's big day.


When I saw the draw I was slightly disappointed as we did hope for one of the large Premiership clubs.

Formed: 1998
Nickname: The Hawks
Ground: Westleigh Park
2nd qualifying round: Bognor Regis 2-1
3nd qualifying round: Fleet Town 2-1
4th qualifying round: Leighton Town 3-0
1st Round proper: York City 1-0
2nd Round proper: Notts County 1-0

But at the end of the day, it gives us another chance of going a game further and that is how we are approaching it, we are confident.

The players and management have worked so hard to get this far and I'm pleased for them that they are getting so much attention, they deserve it.

The money will come in useful and we have ambitions of one day being a League club and this will help us achieve that.


There is a buzz about the place and it does feel different.

This is the biggest game in our history. We have never played in the third round of the Cup before and we have never played a team as big as Swansea.

Shaun Gale
Manager Shaun Gale admits this is the biggest game in their history
It means everything to me and the club and as a manager it is a honour to have taken them this far.

We will approach the game exactly has we have done before. We will go to the game the night before, stay in a hotel and travel to the game in club tracksuits.

I don't know if my wife and four kids will come. It is a bit of a superstition but they've not been to the previous two games and I don't want to change a thing.


I'm expecting to be busy but then they are League opposition so that is understandable.

People are expecting them to win easily, but if we approach the game in the right manner, get a bit of luck and try and keep it tight we know what we are capable of.

I've had a look at their strikers and they are big and powerful and I'm sure they'll keep me busy, but I'm looking forward to the challenge.

I want to play League football [he was a trainee at Bournemouth but was released in 2005 without making a competitive first-team appearance] and this will be a good test for me.


It's been great for myself and for the team since we beat Notts County, I've had to do loads of media interviews.

We are all relishing the challenge and it'll be a good test but we know how difficult it is going to be.

Tony Taggart
Tony Taggart's goal sent The Hawks through to the third round
But we showed in the last tie that if we can keep it tight at 0-0 then we can always nick a goal.

Horsham showed us in the last round against Swansea that it is possible to score goals against them and Chasetown have also shown that non-league teams can beat league opposition.

For me personally I hope the game can put me in the shop window, but at the moment I'm just concentrating on the game.


I'm sure I'll get a warm welcome from the fans at Swansea and I've got my crash helmet at the ready!

Charlie Oatway
Charlie Oatway used to play for Swansea's fierce rivals Cardiff City
No doubt I'll get a bit of stick and abuse, but I'm sure a lot of it will be warm-natured and they are a great club with a great stadium and I look forward to the game.

I have still got friends at Cardiff City and they're letting us use their training facilities ahead of the game which is nice and I've got happy memories of playing there.

Everyone is expecting us to get beaten heavily, but if our young players can learn from the experience then I'll be a happy man.


I've been involved with the club for 25 years, first with Havant Town and then when the club merged, and this is the biggest game I can remember.

I can't quite believe it as it gets closer and everyone is talking about it.

I've been involved with the club for 25 years and this is the biggest game I can remember

Trevor Brock

There will probably be around 800 of us that travel up for the game and considering our average home game is 600, that is not a bad number.

The money will come in useful and will hopefully help us build a squad that can gain promotion.

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