Match Preview: Shots v Eastleigh

Aldershot Town vs Eastleigh – Match Preview – Saturday 9th February 2019

The Shots are back in action on Saturday as they host Eastleigh for a Hampshire Derby. We finally beat the Spitfires in league competition for the first time back in October, in what is to date our only away win of the season. Chris Woods previews the action.

Shots squad:
Bernard Mensah returns to the EBB Stadium after joining on loan from Bristol Rovers, he made a scoring return in the 1-1 draw at Dagenham & Redbridge two weeks ago. Shamir Fenelon, Jake Cole and Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong are all set to miss out but the trio are near a return to first team action. The forward absentees of Scott Rendell and Reece Grant could both be included in the matchday squad. George Fowler and James Rowe remain long-term injuries and Karleigh Osborne will not be included after he departed the club in midweek. New loan signing Rollin Menayese could also make his debut.

Name: Eastleigh FC
Founded: 1946 (as Swaythling Athletic)
Nickname: The Spitfires
Manager: Ben Strevens
Stadium: The Silverlake Stadium
2017/18 National League Position: 14th
2018/19 Current League Position: 9th

Brief History:
Eastleigh were founded in 1946 as Swaythling Athletic and played their home games on Southampton Common before moving to Westfield in Swaythling. They moved to their current Ten Acres home in 1957 and changed their name to Eastleigh in 1980 rising from the Hampshire Leagues to the Conference South in 2005. A change of ownership of the club in 2011 helped propel the Spitfires into the National League Premier in 2014 and significant improvement has happened to the Silverlake Stadium since.

The Gaffer:
Saturday’s visitors are managed by former prolific EFL striker Ben Strevens, who was best known for his spells at Barnet, Dagenham & Redbridge and Gary Waddock’s Wycombe Wanderers side. He joined the Eastleigh coaching staff in 2016 as Player/Assistant Manager under Chris Todd. He then left to join Whitehawk in the National League South where he had a spell as Player/Caretaker Manager, where he had a last minute-penalty saved in one of his few games in charge. He rejoined Eastleigh in 2017, retiring from playing at the end of last season to join the coaching staff at the Spitfires, and took over from Andy Hessenthaler in October, originally as Caretaker Manager, with his first game the 2-1 defeat to Aldershot at the Silverlake Stadium. He was given the job full-time in November and Eastleigh’s league form has had an upturn since.

Eastleigh lost veteran keeper Graham Stack this September after he hung up his gloves to take a coaching role at Watford. Summer departures included defenders Ayo Obileye who joined Maidenhead United and Gavin Hoyte, who joined Dagenham & Redbridge. Midfielders Sam Wood and Sam Togwell also departed, joining Bromley and Slough Town respectively and the Spitfires lost veteran striker James Constable to Poole Town in December.

Former Southampton-youngster Oscar Gobern returned to the South Coast after he was last at Yeovil Town, Josh Hare and Alex Wynter also joined from league rivals Maidstone United and defender Joey Jones joined after Woking’s relegation last season. Loan arrivals include Reading goalkeeper Luke Southwood and George Dowling from Bristol City, who spent last season on loan at Torquay United in this league.

Tomorrow’s game will be refereed by Christopher Pollard. He has refereed two Shots games already this season, our 3-2 home win over Bromley and our 0-0 draw away at Leyton Orient, issuing seven yellow cards in the win over Bromley and four yellow cards in the draw at Orient. In total he’s issued 34 yellow cards in the 10 National League games he’s refereed this season, but yet to issue a red card.

BBC Surrey Sport’s will again be providing live coverage of the game. Gavin Denison will be back in the press box and joined by a special guest from 2:50PM. You can interact with him on Twitter at @GavinDenison. Tune into the BBC Sport Website or BBC Sport App for full match commentary.

Match Sponsors:
Saturday’s Match Sponsor is CleanKing and Ball Sponsor is Steve Brett.