Dom Roman – @DomRoman
Dom discusses talking points ahead of the game at Eastleigh
TURNING POINT OR A FALSE DAWN?
Torquay United scored four goals in the second half on Saturday, including a last minute equaliser…so the team should take some positive momentum to the dreaded Eastleigh (a). The team is at least starting to create chances and also taking them, meaning the Spitfires will be more wary of the Gulls than they would have been a few weeks ago! What’s also clear is that United still have so much to improve on and will not have achieved anything until A) Wins have been gained, and B) We lift ourselves out of the relegation places. With a trip to Notts County looming this weekend, 3 points tonight would undoubtedly be big.
THE SQUAD & LINE-UP
Out of the squad goes the suspended Ross Marshall (he’s suffered enough without me discussing that awful performance on Saturday), and in comes Dillon De Silva, plus perhaps Ryan Hanson. It was heartening to see Tom Lapslie make what feels like his 5th comeback of the season against Altrincham, and also score with his first touch! With Scott Smith also settling in, the likes of De Silva, Lapslie and Smith give United some more zip and energy around the football field. De Silva will surely be reinstated back into the starting line-up, our only natural winger in a squad bereft of pacey width. In goal it would be no surprise to see Mark Halstead come back in for Rhys Lovett, whilst Shaun Donnellan will hope to move back into the middle – maybe at centre back in place of Marshall. 5 on the bench as well? Now that would be nice.
THE CURSE OF EASTLEIGH (A)
When was the last time we actually won at Eastleigh? It was all the way back in early 2015, as Chris Hargreaves’ team triumphed 2-1, Olivier Gueguen and Louis Briscoe the goal-scorers. The team that day – Rice, Ives, MacDonald, Pearce, Young, Richards, Ajala (McQuilkin), Chappell (Cameron), Briscoe (Ofori-Acheampong), Gueguen, Bowman. Subs not used: Seabright, Yeoman. Not a bad looking line-up that, it even has strikers on the bench! Eastleigh have won 5 out of the 6 games at the Silverlake since then, so we are definitely due something better. No promises though…
Eastleigh FC sit rather predictably in the mid-table regions of the National League. No disrespect to the Spitfires, they have done well to maintain a strong position in the league over the years, and generally find enough quality to be mid-table or better. They are managed by Lee Bradbury, who took over in February after a spell as coach at Crawley. As befits a low key team, there is not many well-known players – experienced ex-Grecian Aaron Martin is a key man at centre back, whilst their top scorer with 4 is Danny Whittaker, a strong striker who usually comes on as an impact sub. Scoring 15 and conceding 18, Eastleigh’s games have generally been tight affairs, though they did lose 3-0 to Solihull at the weekend. Home is where their strengths lie though, with 4 wins at the Silverlake so far including an impressive win over Chesterfield earlier this month. A tough game awaits.