Fixture backlog 'ludicrous' says Hill

Richard Hill

Richard Hill

First published in Sport

EASTLEIGH boss Richard Hill says it’s “ludicrous” that with just 14 weeks of the Skrill Conference South season remaining, Eastleigh have 23 league fixtures still to cram in, while tomorrow’s opponents Gosport Borough have 25.

Although no one could have foreseen such a wet winter, inevitably there is always some bad weather to factor in, taking Hill back to his original argument that the season should have kicked off earlier.

The Spitfires boss expressed his unhappiness during the summer that the Conference South was starting on August 17 – two weeks after the Championship/Football League and a week later than the Conference Premier.

And, with Eastleigh and Gosport now faced with a backlog of crucial league games and both through to the FA Trophy quarter-finals, he believes the situation could have been alleviated by getting more games played when the weather was fine.

“Why didn’t we start a fortnight earlier?” he said. “The last two weeks of pre-season were as hard as I’ve known trying to enthuse and stimulate my players.

“If we’d started earlier we would have been a minimum of five games better off by now.

“The Trophy final’s in March this year, so we’re having to cram those games in as well.

“I for one will not agree to playing Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, but I’ll be told I have to.

“How can it be that we’ve only played 19 games and Gosport 17 when we should have played 24 at least?”

Bar the suspended Stuart Fleetwood, who has three more games to sit out, Eastleigh should be at full strength for tomorrow’s second-to-top versus second-to-bottom showdown at the Silverlake.

League leaders Bromley stumbled 2-1 at home to Concord on Tuesday, leaving the Spitfires 11 points adrift with four games in hand.

“I’ve got a lot of time and respect for Bromley boss Mark Goldberg and class him as a friend, but the downside of the football industry is that you’re always looking for other people to fail,” said Hill.

“There’s still a long way to go. We’re not even halfway through the season. All we can do is go about our business in the right way.”

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