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Aaron Martin set for Saints Reserves debut

By Wendy Gee -

Aaron MartinFORMER Itchen College pupil Aaron Martin will be handed a Saints reserve chance tomorrow after impressing Alan Pardew during a short trial.

The 20-year-old Eastleigh centre half is likely to feature for Stewart Henderson’s reserve side at Plymouth Argyle tomorrow afternoon as his dream of a professional career gathers pace.

Martin, who has played at Wembley for England Schools, has spent the last two weeks training full time with Pardew’s squad at Staplewood.

Describing his time at Saints as “absolutely brilliant”, Martin said: “The training’s been unbelievable.

“Where Southampton have had midweek games, I’ve sometimes been with the under-18s and reserves and sometimes with the first team.

“It’s given me a lot of confidence playing-wise and I feel I’ve learned a lot in terms of footwork, winning headers, getting my arm up etc.

“I’ve spoken to Alan Pardew and he seems impressed with me. I think he likes what he’s seen.

“In training I’ve been defending against their strikers and I’ve won a lot of headers and looked like I could stay with them at their standard.

“My footwork’s so much better now and when I played for Eastleigh against Havant & Waterlooville last week I felt so much sharper after being with Saints.

“I’ve absolutely loved it there.

It’s been my dream to train fulltime.

“I already knew a couple of the Saints lads like Matt Paterson, who I played with for Hampshire, and Jamie White who’s just come on loan to Eastleigh.”

Martin has previously trained with AFC Bournemouth, but says being with Saints is something else.

“At Bournemouth I just trained a couple of days a week, but I’ve been at Staplewood every day,” he said.

“I’ve loved every minute of it and I want full-time football so badly.

It’s my home club as well, which makes it even better.

“Saints have got me tickets for a couple of matches too, which is good because I’ve been able to see how they play.”

It was Eastleigh boss Ian Baird who pointed Martin in Saints’ direction after some mature performances in the Blue Square South.

And the former England Schools defender made such a big impression that the League One side invited him back for a second week.

Baird said: “Stewart Henderson has been in touch and asked if Aaron can play for the reserves tomorrow so they can see what he’s like in a game situation.

“He’s got my blessing to go.”

Should Martin progress, the towering 6ft 3in teenager would leave a sizeable hole in Eastleigh’s defence, but that’s something ex- Dell striker Baird would deal with when it happened.

“What will we do without Aaron Martin? You might as well ask me what I’ll do if a spaceship lands in the centre of our pitch!” he smiled.

“I’m not even thinking about it yet.”


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