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Two more follow Baird out the Eastleigh exit door
9:27am Friday 14th September 2012 in Sport
TWO members of Ian Baird’s backroom team have followed the ex-Saint out of the Eastleigh door.
Steve Johnson and Phil Pearpoint are no longer with the Blue Square Bet South club following Baird’s dismissal as manager earlier this week.
Club favourite Wayne Shaw remains as goalkeeping coach and back-up ’keeper to ex-Saint Jack Dovey.
New boss Richard Hill will be reliant on the inside knowledge of Baird’s number two Shaun Wilkinson, who retains the assistant manager’s role.
Unlike many managers, Hill has not arrived with a ready-made right-hand man and will wait and see how his partnership with ex-Brighton, Weymouth and Havant & Waterlooville midfielder Wilkinson develops.
“Shaun Wilkinson’s still with us and Richard is happy to work with him,” said club director Neil Fox.
“He hasn’t got anyone he wishes to bring in immediately and hopefully he and Shaun will complement each other.
“We’ve released Phil Pearpoint and Steve Johnson who were assisting Bairdy, but Wayne Shaw’s still here.”
Hill, who takes charge of his first game at home to Maidenhead United tomorrow, beat off a flood of applicants for the job.
Although only 48 hours elapsed between Baird’s departure and Hill’s arrival, Fox was inundated with enquiries.
“Whilst we’ve got our man, it’s incredible the number of applications we received,” said Fox. “A lot of them were from top-quality, highly experienced managers – some of them very high profile.”
Although Eastleigh remain a part-time club for the time being, Hill is a full-time manager.
“Bairdy will tell you that his role was pretty much full-time here and, as we look to develop towards becoming a Conference National and Football League club, we will be gearing ourselves up to become a full-time club as soon as it’s feasibly possible,” said Fox.
“Richard is familiar with a lot of the players and is happy with the squad we’ve assembled.
“Whether there will be changes, I don’t know, that’s down to Richard. We don’t interfere on that side of things.”
Half the battle for Hill tomorrow will be lifting the Spitfires’ dented conference after defeats by Dover, Dorchester and Billericay dropped them to 16th in the table.
Mitchell Nelson is still struggling with a knee injury as is ex-Saint Callum McNish, who finishes his month’s loan from Braintree tomorrow.
The good news is that former Barnet midfielder Mark Hughes, who broke a metatarsal bone in pre-season, was due to resume training last night.