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Building for next season

Ian Baird has begun the process of building his squad for next season having missed out on reaching the play-offs for what would have been the second season running.

Part of that has included looking at who from the current squad want to stay on at the Silverlake next term, when they will be aiming to launch another play-off push.

Baird is aware that some of his key men have been “tapped up” already and also accepts that a number of his squad could command bigger wages.

“At this moment in time I know who I want to keep,” he said.

“I have approached three or four of the players and I am waiting on answers back from them.

“I know those players would be able to get deals from clubs offering more money or clubs that are higher up, better geographically and unfortunately there is no such thing as loyalty in the game.

“Some probably think they can play higher. Some may be approached by higher clubs.

“But some may want to stay here and I would to think we have unfinished business and I would like to keep the nucleus.

“If I don’t, I will be over it in 24 hours.”

One player Baird is keen to retain is wholehearted striker Jamie Brown.

The brave target man has had a massively disrupted and luckless last two seasons due to a succession of injuries, reports Adrian Kajumba of the Daily Echo.

This term he has managed just ten league and cup appearances.

“As long as I’m at the club I would like to keep Jamie Brown,” Baird said.

“With him, what you see is what you get.

“He may not be the best technically but you know when he plays he will always give 150 per cent.

“He has been a big miss.

“I have spoken to him and said if he comes back in pre-season and is over his injuries there is a contract there for him.”

Andy Forbes is another Spitfires striker who has endured an injury hit last couple of campaigns and whose future is up for debate.

Speaking of the 30-year-old, a huge Eastleigh favourite having scored 143 times in 268 games for the club, Baird said: “He is a big favourite with everyone at the club and the way I would see it is he needs to prove his fitness.

“And I think it will be good for him to show his loyalty to Eastleigh Football Club.

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