THE postponement of Tuesday’s big Conference South showdown at Bromley had one significant upside for Eastleigh.
It allowed manager Richard Hill to take a more in-depth look at tomorrow’s FA Trophy quarter-final visitors Cambridge United who were beaten 2-1 at home by Grimsby in the Conference Premier.
“I took the opportunity to watch them as our game was off,” said Hill. “They’re an organised, honest, hard-working team with some very good players and it’s going to be a hard test for us. They’re not second in their league because they’re poor at doing things.”
The value of scouting future opponents was underlined two rounds ago when Eastleigh saw off Cambridge’s top-flight rivals Gateshead with a dominant 2-0 victory at the Silverlake.
Hill said: “I saw the Gateshead manager Gary Mills at a Conference meeting on Wednesday and, like I said to him, I genuinely think they were at a disadvantage that day because we hadn’t had a game since the draw was made so they weren’t able to watch us and see what we were about.
“Some of the Gateshead players may have underestimated us. They will have known names like Ben Strevens, Stuart Fleetwood, pictured below, and Craig McAllister but probably tended to think they were good players on a bit of a wind-down, which isn’t the case.
“Gary Mills was highly complimentary about us and said we too strong for them on the day.”
With Fleetwood available again after a four-match suspension, the Spitfires are at full strength tomorrow.
“If we don’t play well, we haven’t got a chance, that’s for sure,” said Hill.
“If we get good chances, we’ve got to make sure we take them, and we’ve got to defend well, not just as defenders but as a team.
“They’re second in their league, we’re second in ours and we’ll see how big the gap is.
“We aspire to be in the league above and it’s going to be challenging.
“It’s an exciting day for the club and fans and we’ll respect Cambridge and welcome them in the proper manner.”
Eastleigh yesterday confirmed they had released right-back Damian Batt and the versatile Romone Rose.