Third from bottom of the away form table and third from top at home is the story of Eastleigh’s season this year.

The Spitfires have lost just once on their own patch in the first game of the season against big-spending Wrexham.

But, away from home, only an 88th-minute winner at Wealdstone has seen them pick up three National League points on their travels. Their other point on the road came in a 1-1 draw at Barnet on September 11.

In their last game out they went down 2-0 at Boreham Wood to go out of the FA Cup at the first round stage last Saturday.

They lost on-loan centre back Josh Low in the week after he was recalled by Bristol City with captain Andrew Boyce and Christian Maghoma, who had an unsuccessful loan at Huish Park whilst a Tottenham Hotspur in 2015 when he failed to make an appearance, the regular starters in the heart of defence.

Low has made just eight appearances since joining in the summer and not featured since the defeat at Southend at the start of October, suggesting the Robins were unhappy at his lack of game time.

Striker Ben House is their top scorer with four National League goals this season although he is yet to find the net since bagging the winner at Wealdstone.

Familiar faces include midfielder Tom Whelan, formerly of Brympton parish, who joined in the summer having been surprisingly released by Chesterfield.

Michael Kelly, who played 21 times in green and white last season, has also made himself a regular fixture in the Eastleigh side.

Also, catch our chat with Eastleigh YouTuber Ahmad on our latest podcast – here.


FROM (OUR) MANAGER

Speaking ahead of the weekend, Yeovil Town manager Darren Sarll spoke about the 3-1 defeat on the last visit by the Spitfires to Huish Park in December last year:

“They beat us well and truly last year here. I have worked with (Eastleigh manager Ben) Strevens as a player, he was an intelligent player and he does very well and the club does well.

“(Former Southampton midfielder, Jake) Hesketh is a good player for them, Tom Whelan is a very good player, so they have a lot of threat in their team.

“All these games are a war of attrition, but we go in to it knowing what our best looks like and feeling our best as well.”

 


TEAM NEWS

Eastleigh seem unlikely to be changed from their FA Cup defeat at Boreham Wood last weekend with no injuries or suspensions.

Boyce and Maghoma seem likely to start in the centre of defence after keeping a clean sheet in the 1-0 home win over Maidenhead in the last National League outing a fortnight ago.

Former Cheltenham and Bristol City loanee Tyrone Barnett scored in that game and is expected to start alongside top-scorer Ben House up front.

 


A FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS

We have already eluded to the two most obvious connections who are almost certain to be in the visitors’ line-up this weekend.

Tom Whelan was a regular feature in the first month of Darren Sarll’s time at Huish Park featuring in the first eight matches of the 2019-2020 National League campaign.

But, having seemingly fallen out of favour, he was allowed to leave on loan from Chippenham Town and then W*ymouth in the National League South, eventually being exiled to the Bob Lucas Stadium.

In fairness, in the murky depths of the Dorset coastline he shone and eventually saw sense and moved to the National League paupers of Cashterfield where it is fair to say he tore us a new one in a 3-0 win in Derbyshire last season.

Whelan is proving something of a dead ball specialist for Eastleigh this season with his three goals coming from penalties and a sumptuous free-kick in the win over Altrincham the other week.

Scotsman Michael Kelly is the other connection likely to feature for the Spitfires following his release by Bristol Rovers in the summer.

The left-back who filled in when Carl Dickinson was unavailable for much of last season has been a regular starter this season.

Christian Maghoma on the other hand joined us in November 2015 promising to mirror the achievements of Steven Caulker.

He departed without playing a single match and went on to play for Arka Gdynia in Poland for two years before returning to England with Gillingham last summer. He joined Eastleigh on loan from the Gills at the start of the season.

In the green and white corner, Glovers’ captain Luke Wilkinson and a six-game loan spell at Eastleigh whilst a Portsmouth player back in 2010.

There’s a few other players with connections with both clubs including full-back Joe Tomlinson who played in the youth set up at Huish Park before arriving at Eastleigh via Bognor Regis and Hungerford – what a journey!

He impressed at National League level and made the step up in to the Football League at Peterborough United in the summer.

Striker Ryan Bird scored eight times in 36 appearances for Yeovil in the 2015-16 season before moving to Eastleigh where he managed three in 16 the following year.

Other connections include Yemi Odubade, Alefe Santos, Aaron Martin, Marcus Barnes, Alex Lacey, Oscar Gobern, Jake Howells and a striker called Thomas Clarke, the latter having a Wikipedia entry as impressive as his lower league journeyman career.


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