EASTLEIGH’S Richard Hill will demand more of the same from his players for tonight’s top-two showdown at Bromley in the Skrill Conference South.
The Silverlake boss got the perfect response on Saturday as the Spitfires followed their season’s league lowlight – a 3-2 defeat at Weston-super-Mare – with a magnificent 3-1 home humbling of third-placed Ebbsfleet United With Bromley also winning 2-1 at home to Hayes & Yeading, second-placed Eastleigh still have work to do to overhaul Mark Goldberg’s league leaders who are 11 points to the good having won 12 and drawn one of their last 14 league matches.
But, with three games to spare over the Ravens, victory at Hayes Lane would put the Spitfires’ title destiny in their own hands.
Looking forward to the clash of the Conference South titans, Hill said: “We’re the team under pressure because we’ve always got to win the next game, whereas Bromley are playing with a bit of freedom because they’ve got the gap.
“If we can just get that gap closed and put a bit of pressure on them, who knows? But if at the end of the season Bromley have won more games than we have, then they deserve to be champions.”
In the immediate aftermath of the Weston defeat, Hill had branded it: “Our worst performance of the season.”
But it was a far happier Eastleigh boss who emerged from the victorious dressing room on Saturday after a Jai Reason hat-trick had effectively killed off Ebbsfleet’s hopes of gate-crashing the race for the title and automatic promotion.
“As disappointing as the performance was on Tuesday, this was a good performance at a different end of the scale,” said Hill. “There’s a lot of experience in that dressing room and, for a lot of this week, I let the players do the talking and there’s been a lot of common sense (spoken).
“The lads knew we needed 11 players to put in a good performance against Ebbsfleet and they did do.
“We’ve got to be prepared for the challenge ahead and see where it takes us.”
Eastleigh will have an extra gun in their armoury tonight with pedigree forward Stuart Fleetwood returning from a four-match suspension fresh from a signing a year’s contract extension.
But they will need to check on midfielder Jamie Collins who limped off after turning his ankle early in the second half against Ebbsfleet.
Ex-Barnet, Dagenham and Wycombe midfielder/forward Ben Strevens believes Eastleigh are more than capable of snaring all three points tonight.
“It’s going to be another tough game. We came in on Saturday and Bromley had won again, so fair play to them. They’re keeping up the pace like we are,” he said. “But we’re confident with the players we’ve got that we can go and win the game.”