Skip to main content

Hill of a challenge!

By Wendy Gee -

EASTLEIGH will have one fewer danger man to worry about when they welcome play-off rivals Woking to the Silverlake Stadium tomorrow.

Loan midfielder Kieran Murtagh, so instrumental in the Cards' terrific run under new boss Garry Hill, was yesterday recalled by his parent club Wycombe Wanderers.

The 22-year-old, scorer of five goals in 13 appearances for Woking, was not due to return to Adams Park for another week.

But the Antigua & Barbuda international is needed as cover for the injuries - much to the Spitfires' relief.

"Garry Hill has made some very good signings for Woking and the most influential of them was Murtagh," said Eastleigh boss Ian Baird.

"You can't take away from the fact that he'd been there for 12 league games and they'd won 11 of them."

Baird and Hill have had run-ins in the past - not least when they were managers of Havant & Waterlooville and Weymouth respectively.

Tony Taggart now an Eastleigh player, was at the centre of a row when Havant played him against his old club Weymouth and the Terras claimed they had broken a gentlemen's agreement in doing so.

Baird argued that an injury/illness crisis had forced him to field Taggart, but it was to cost the Hawks a three-point deduction - and their place in the play-offs.

Hill was appointed Woking manager in mid-January after the Cards had parted company with Baird's fellow ex-Saint Graham Baker.

Baird wouldn't deny the ex-Dagenham & Redbridge boss has "very good connections", but believes he was fortunate to take over where Baker left off.

"If I was an out of work manager I'd have snapped someone's hand off to manager Woking. It wasn't like walking into a club in trouble. He inherited a really good squad," said Baird.

"Graham Baker should never have lost his job.

"Graham did a good job last season getting Woking to the play-offs and his parting was premature.

"But Garry Hill's come in and I respect him as a manager. Whereever he's been, he's done well."

Having gone 12 league games unbeaten, fifth-placed Woking sit five points above Eastleigh having played two games more.

If the Spitfires are to reel them in, they cannot afford a repeat of the defensive horror show which led to a 4-1 collapse against Welling last week.

"We made some horrendous mistakes," said Baird. "But if I can take a positive from a negative, all the midweek results - apart from Farnborough's - have gone with us and Lewes beating Braintree on Wednesday blows the league wide open.

"We've blown the cobwebs away in training and, fingers crossed, we won't self-harm again." 

Danny Smith could feature after hamstring problems, but Brett Poate is still out and goalkeeper Gareth Barfoot has been ill.

The other doubt is on-loan striker Mark Nwokeji, who hasn't trained with his parent club AFC Wimbledon due to an ankle problem.

"Mark's loan is up tomorrow and ideally we'd like to keep him," said Baird.

"But Wimbledon's form hasn't been good lately and it wouldn't surprise me if they want him back."

Eastleigh's other loanee, midfielder Ian Herring, has had his contract terminated by Forest Green and will remain a Spitfire for the rest of the season.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Stearn rejoins Sutton

Ross Stearn has rejoined Sutton United after leaving Eastleigh by mutual consent.

He leaves the Silverlake having made 31 appearances and scored five goals under three different managers since linking up with the club for an undisclosed fee.

He had signed a two-and-a-half-year contract for the Spitfires and has now rejoined Sutton on a two-year deal.

Saying his farewells to Eastleigh, Stearn admitted: “I am disappointed things didn't work out as first planned, but it wasn’t for want of trying.

“I wish everyone at the club every success and all the best for the future."

He added: "I had a brilliant two years at Sutton and have really missed the dressing room and supporters who were fantastic with me.

"I’ve always kept a look-out for our results and the boys have done an amazing job. It really feels like I’m coming home and to put on the amber shirt again is so exciting.

"It didn’t work out for me at Eastleigh, but it was a decision I made at the time that was be…

Eastleigh 0-2 Barrow

Eastleigh suffered another home defeat losing 2-0 at the Silverlake against Barrow, who had lost their last seven away games.

Match tweets and reaction below:

EASTLEIGH: Graham Stack, Gavin Hoyte, Frazer Shaw, Cavaghn Miley (Ayo Obileye, 84), Andrew Boyce, Callum Howe, Mark Yeates, Simon Heslop, Ben Williamson, James Constable (Sam Matthews, 63), Chris Zebroski (Paul McCallum, 63). Subs (not used) : Ross Flitney, Craig McAllister.

Referee: Simon Barrow.

Attendance: 1,708.
Eastleigh 0 Barrow AFC 2: Another gloomy afternoon for the Spitfires https://t.co/XP8WMhJXVn#eastleighfcpic.twitter.com/Ot32MKWBkL — Daily Echo Sport (@dailyechosport) November 18, 2017


Heslop joins on loan

Simon Heslop, 30, has joined the club on a one-month loan deal from York City. He captained York to FA Trophy victory against Macclesfield at Wembley Stadium in May this year.

The midfielder played against the Spitfires last season, scoring when York visited The Silverlake in November.

Speaking upon arrival at the club, Heslop spoke of his delight at joining up with the squad.

“I’m itching to get going – it’s only initially a one-month loan, but I’m excited to get started.

“This league is all about getting a consistent run going, and I’m sure with the squad assembled, we can give it a go.”

Speaking about the signing of Heslop, Richard Hill said: “I did say I wouldn’t put a sticking plaster on it, but the reason I’ve been convinced is because we’ve found a midfielder who wants to prove himself at a higher level and he’s coming for the right reasons.

"It’s a deal that's beneficial to both the club and player and it’s financially right as well.

“Also, it’s been forced in the respect th…

Dover 2-0 Eastleigh

Goals from James Alabi and former Spitfire Connor Essam were enough for top of the table Dover to seal a 2-0 win over Eastleigh.

Richard Hill's reaction: "It was a frustrating day - we're up against it at the moment.
"The only players we've got at the moment are the players that are in that dressing room - and it doesn't help when a couple of decisions go against you. 
"At times I thought we played decent football - but we just couldn't open them up and get that opportunity."


Jason Dodd To Sign For Eastleigh

JASON DODD - A SPITFIRE!

The club will complete the transfer of the highly experienced, former Southampton right back before the pre-season friendly between Eastleigh and Saints this Saturday (15th).

Jason Dodd made over 370 appearances for Southampton in his 16 year spell at the club having signed as a teenager from his home town club Bath. The signing of such a well respected, Southampton legend just goes to show that the club are going onwards and upwards!

Eastleigh chairman Paul Murray said the following "This is a fantastic signing and demonstrates the new board's committment to the management team. Jason has been a fantastic servant to Southampton FC over the years and his presence in our dressing room can only add to our challenge for promotion this season."

Manager, Paul Doswell is clearly delighted to have pulled off such a signing and is optimistic about the season ahead. "Between David Hughes and myself, we have spent the last two years talking to Jason,…