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Hawkins fear for Brighton 'nightmare'

COLIN Hawkins admits he's running out of time in his bid to win a new contract from Brighton manager Gus Poyet.

The former Bohemians, St Pat's and Shels defender has not played for Brighton since August due to injury and he won't be fit for another month as he recovers from surgery on his Achilles', so the Galway native is concerned about his future as he's out of contract in the summer.

"It's a nightmare," Hawkins says of his relationship with boss Poyet.

"We pass each other on the stairs and he just kind of laughs. He has seen every player at the club bar me. Everyone is desperate to impress a new manager and I'm no different. Time is running out for me.

"My contract is up in the summer, like a lot of other lads, and it is looking like three to four weeks for me on the training ground to try and prove something to the manager and see if there is anything there.

"At the moment I am just desperate to prove it to myself more than anything."

ALAN Mathews says that his Drogheda United side need to learn how to defend after a "shocking" start to the season has seen them concede 13 goals in four games.

United are second from bottom with just one point this season and Mathews admits that their defending has not been good enough.

"You can put whatever slant you want on it but being totally honest it's a shocking start to the season because we've been so porous," said Mathews after Friday's 4-1 defeat by Sporting Fingal.

"They scored with their first attack. Limp defending then for the rest of the game caused us trouble. It's disappointing because last season one of our key ingredients was being good defensively."

CRYSTAL Palace boss Paul Hart feels that the Eagles would not be in danger of relegation from the Championship if they had more players like Paddy McCarthy.

Palace lost 2-1 at home to Cardiff City on Saturday, their fourth defeat in six games, and are four points away from safety. Dubliner McCarthy made his first appearance in six months in the game after recovering from a serious shoulder injury, and Hart was delighted with McCarthy's contribution.

"I thought his performance was unbelievable," Hart said.

"He's in a lot of pain but Paddy is the sort of guy we need to get out of trouble. He wanted to play in the game; in a perfect world with everybody fit we could have held him back, but he typifies the spirit in the camp."