AMBITIOUS National League outfit Eastleigh are ready to unveil the next stage of their ground development at the end of the month.

The Spitfires have earmarked their next home game against Hartlepool United on Saturday, January 27, as the official opening of their new West Stand extension.

Costing an estimated £750,000, the extension incorporates a large gymnasium and treatment room for the players and a football management office for team boss Andy Hessenthaler and his staff.

It also houses a directors’ room, a room for the stewards/safety officers, plus toilet facilities for the disabled.

Seat-wise, it adds another 550 to the 350 in the existing main blue stand and the whole structure will now be known as the Drive Personnel Stand, thanks to sponsorship from the Eastleigh-based company which specialises in HGV driving jobs across Hampshire.

Club chairman Stewart Donald said: “Whilst we have the Mackoy Stand (behind the top goal) with plenty of seats always available, I know a number of our fans would much prefer to sit down the side of the pitch.

“Once this has been done, it will allow us to move to the next stage of our ground development.”

All being well, that next stage will be to convert the Mackoy Community Stand to a permanent structure, removing the seating and utilising the space below.

“Ideally we would like to turn the stand into a home terrace with a new fans’ bar and changing rooms for the players, along with classrooms, toilets, refreshment outlets and one or two other facilities,” Donald explained.

“This would mean the players would enter and leave the ground next to our most vocal supporters and I feel this could be of huge benefit, whilst also giving us a much-improved atmosphere with the ability to house a huge vocal support behind the one goal.”

Subject to the relevant planning approval, work on transforming the Mackoy Stand could begin as early as next month with a view to it being ready for the start of next season.

Simultaneously, planning permission will be sought to complete the West Stand and connect the two corners with the north and south ends so the ground will be two-thirds enclosed.

The completed West Stand should include ten or 11 corporate boxes as millionaire businessman Donald works towards his long-term goal of making Eastleigh self-sustainable