Eastleigh getting the benefits from small and close squad - here’s the lowdown on Chesterfield’s weekend opponents

Saturday’s visitors to the Proact are reaping the rewards of a small, tight-knit squad under boss Ben Strevens.

By Graham Smyth
Friday, 8th March 2019, 6:35 pm

The Eastleigh gaffer, inset, has led his men to the play-off places and, barring last weekend’s blip, they’ve been in red hot form of late.

Wendy Gee of the Daily Echo says their promotion hopes remain alive and kicking moving into the latter stages of the season and the Spitfires’ fanbase are right behind them.

“Prior to last Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat by Halifax, Eastleigh had won five league games on the bounce which took them up to fifth,” she said.

“They are now seventh and still in with a very good chance of the play-offs.

“Manager Ben Strevens believes in a small, tight-knit squad and it seems to be paying off. The team spirit and togetherness this season is a big part of their success.”

“During the big-spending days of former owner Stewart Donald questions were asked about some of the players’ commitment, but the current crop seem to have won the supporters over.”

A major part of Eastleigh’s success this season has been their free-scoring striker Paul McCallum.

He’s terrorised National League defences all season but hit a particularly purple patch recently.

“Paul McCallum, their targetman, hit three braces in a row prior to Saturday and now has 21 goals this season,” said Gee.

“He is particularly dangerous in the air from set-pieces.”

Eastleigh, who are expected to stick with their three at the back system, have had few changes since the last time the two clubs met.

But Strevens has had to replace Polish keeper Max Stryjek, who returned to Sunderland, with another young loanee – Reading’s Luke Southwood.

Centre-half Reda Johnson has been out with a hamstring issue and could still be a doubt for this weekend.