Steve Harris – @steveharris84
Steve Harris previews the game at Eastleigh
EASTLEIGH FC VS TORQUAY UNITED – NATIONAL LEAGUE
Venue: The Silverlake Stadium, Eastleigh
Date: 25th October 2022
Torquay: D, L, L, D, W, D
Eastleigh: W, D, D, W, W, L
Torquay: Will Goodwin (3)
Eastleigh: Danny Whitehall (4)
HEAD TO HEAD
EASTLEIGH FC FACTFILE
Year founded: 1946
Nickname: The Spitfires
Last season’s league finish: 9th in National League
Conference/Blue Square/National League South:
MANAGER: LEE BRADBURY
Isle of Wight born Lee Bradbury took charge of the Spitfires in February 2022, following the departure of Ben Strevens.
His managerial career began in 2011, when he succeeded Eddie Howe as manager of AFC Bournemouth on a caretaker basis before he was appointed on permanent basis. In his first season, the 2010-11 campaign, he led the Cherries to the League One play-offs. However, a poor run of form saw him dismissed in March 2012.
Later that year, Bradbury was appointed as manager of Havant and Waterlooville, who he guided to back-to-back promotions between the Isthmian Premier Division to the National League in successive seasons – 2016-17 & 2017-18 – before they were relegated back to National League South in the 2018-19 campaign.
He then left the Hawks in 2019 and then a brief spell as Eastbourne Borough manager, which was followed by a stint as assistant manager to John Yems at Crawley Town – a position which he held until his appointment as Eastleigh manager.
As a player, Bradbury started out in the professional game with Portsmouth in 1995 after leaving the Army and later earned moves to Manchester City and Crystal Palace. Spells with Walsall, Oxford United and Southend United then followed before he finished his playing career with AFC Bournemouth in 2011.
PLAYER TO WATCH: AARON MARTIN
A familiar face to Gary Johnson from his time as Yeovil Town manager, Aaron Martin began his career with Eastleigh in 2007 before moving to Southampton in November 2009. He spent time on loan at Salisbury City towards the end of the 2009–10 campaign, and then played 18 league games across the course of two successive promotions that took Southampton from League One into the Premier League in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons respectively. He then spent the 2012–13 season on loan at Crystal Palace and Coventry City. After missing the first half of the 2013–14 campaign through injury, he signed with Birmingham City and played eight Championship games – after his Southampton contract was ended by mutual consent in January 2014.
In the summer of 2014, he joined Yeovil and later returned to Coventry on loan in October 2014 and signed permanently with the club three months later. Released by Coventry, he signed with Oxford United in June 2016, where he would remain for two years before moving on to Exeter City. He played for Exeter in the 2020 League Two play-off final alongside Dean Moxey, which ended in defeat to Northampton Town. Martin then moved north of the border to sign for Hamilton Academical, then of the Scottish Premiership in November 2020, and returned to England at the end of the 2020–21 campaign to sign for Port Vale. He helped the Valiants to win promotion out of League Two via the play-offs in 2022, before returning the South of England later in the summer to re-join Eastleigh.
Position: Centre Back
Date of Birth: 29th September 1989 – 33 Years Old
Former Clubs: Southampton, Salisbury, Crystal Palace, Coventry, Birmingham, Yeovil, Oxford, Exeter, Hamilton, Port Vale
NLS Stats 22-23: Played 12, Goals Scored 0, Yellow/Red 2/0
PREVIOUS HEAD TO HEAD
TORQUAY UNITED 0-0 EASTLEIGH FC
Torquay had to settle for a 0-0 home draw against Eastleigh, who were indebted to goalkeeper Joe McDonnell.
Danny Wright and Connor Lemonheigh-Evans both went close with first-half headers and Keelan O’Connell’s far-post effort was well saved by McDonnell before half-time.
The home side threatened again early in the second period when Asa Hall fired wide and McDonnell produced further saves to thwart Wright and Klaidi Lolos.
Eastleigh went close in the 79th-minute through Brennan Camp, but the on-loan Bournemouth defender was denied by Torquay keeper Shaun MacDonald, who then kept out Crawley loanee Ronan Silva’s shot.
Torquay United (3-5-2)
Shaun Donnellan – Chin Okoli – Dean Moxey
Dylan Crowe – Brett McGavin – Asa Hall – Scott Smith – Dillon De Silva
Aaron Jarvis – Will Goodwin
Brennan Camp – Aaron Martin – George Langston – Michael Kelly
Ryan Hill – JJ McKiernan – Ousseynou Cisse – Oscar Rutherford
Tristan Abrahams – Charlie Carter