Preview: Eastleigh

The Fleet set course for the South Coast in a quest to secure back-to-back victories for the first time in 2023/24. Having secured a first win in five matches on the weekend against Boreham Wood, the trip to the Silverlake Stadium – where Fleet have enjoyed some good results – could come at just the right time if Saturday’s victorious squad can build on that performance. 

Form guide

Like many of Fleet’s recent games, it’s another tight margin in the table with the two sides separated only by a point in Eastleigh’s favour. A mixed run for the Spitfires has seen them pick up 10 points in the past five matches following a tricky start to the campaign that cost Lee Bradbury his job as manager. Last Saturday Eastleigh made the trip to Halifax – Fleet’s next opponents – where a Paul McCallum brace flew the Spitfires to victory.

Head to head

The last time the two sides met was in December 2019 with a 1-1 draw on display. The scoreline wasn’t the main talking point, however, because the Fleet missed two penalties in the closing stages of the match. Though it finished equal, the Fleet do have the upper hand when it comes to the head-to-head tally with six wins to Eastleigh’s one. The Fleet’s biggest victory against the hosts was back in 2018 when Michael Cheek, Danny Kedwell and Corey Whitley all made their way on to the scoresheet during the first-half in a 3-0 win, a scoreline repeated from our promotion season of 2010/11.

This previous visit in 2018 earned Fleet a 1-0 win

Who’s who

In goal is 29-year-old Joe McDonnell who has made 136 appearances. Summer signing Ludwig Francillette has made just the three appearances this season but found himself in the starting lineup for their visit to Halifax. Having spent two seasons at Crawley, Francillette brings experience despite only being 24. The experienced Paul McCallum is up front and has scored seven goals this season signed from Dagenham & Redbridge in the summer where he made almost 100 appearances. The forward is in his second spell at the club having led the line from 2017-19.

The manager

Richard Hill was recently appointed as manager following an interim spell in caretaker charge. Hill takes over from Lee Bradbury and this is his third spell as Eastleigh boss, having led the Spitfires to the South title in 2013/14. Hill had a further managerial spell at Whitehawk before a five-year absence from management. 

Club connections

Fleet summer signing Ouss Cissé will greet some familiar faces as he makes a return to the Silverlake Stadium where he spent last season. Eastleigh midfielder Charlie Carter should know all about the Fleet defence, having played with Haydn Hollis at Chesterfield and both Luke O’Neill and Joe Martin at Stevenage.

Ticket info

To purchase a ticket for Tuesday night’s match click https://www.eastleighfc.com/tickets/


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