Will power for boss Baird
By Wendy Gee -
Eastleigh boss Ian Baird has been given a massive boost ahead of the new Blue Square Bet South campaign with the arrival of highly-rated attacking midfielder Will Hendry.
Hendry's is a name that normally sets alarm bells ringing among the Spitfires faithful given the damage he has done playing against them in the past.
Two seasons ago he scored a penalty in the play-off semi-final, first leg at Hayes & Yeading, which Eastleigh romped 4-2.
But it was his appearance as a second-half substitute in the ill-fated return leg at the Silverlake Stadium that set up the Middlesex side for an unexpected 4-0 fight-back, leading to their eventual promotion to the BSB Premier.
"Peter Adeniyi, Anthony Riviere, Shaun McAuley and Brett Poate are all injured and we were desperately short of a creative midfielder," explained Eastleigh's director of football Dave Malone..
"And if you talk to anyone about Will Hendry they will tell you what a good player he is.
"He was the difference when we lost in the play-offs two seasons ago. We were 1-0 down at half-time in the second leg. Then he came on in the second half and absolutely destroyed us.
"Every time we've played against him, he's been different class."
A former Millwall trainee, Hendry made two Football League starts and one substitute appearance for the Lions before joining the old Hayes FC in October 2006.
He returned to Church Road in January 2007 after playing a handful of games for Grays Athletic in the Conference National and was then offered a deal by Dagenham & Redbridge, which he subsequently rejected in September last year.
A brief stint with Eastleigh's BSB South rivals Maidenhead United followed before he returned to the Conference top flight with AFC Wimbledon who released him and 11 other players in a massive summer clearout.
More recently Hendry has spent two weeks in Azerbaijan having trials with Gabala FC, managed by former England and Arsenal star Tony Adams.
"We heard Will had come back from Azerbaijan and it just so happens that he's quite good friends with (Eastleigh's ex-Hayes & Yeading striker) Staforde Palmer," Malone explained.
We had another player due to join us but he is unlikely to be available now until mid-September, so in the short-term that has enabled us to sign Will non-contract initially.
"If things turn out well and Will stays, we will have to look at how we fund it."
Hendry will be included in the squad for today's big BSB South kick-off at home to Bishops Stortford.
There are however, slight injury doubts over Chris Holland (ankle), Danny Smith (hamstring) and Warren Goodhind (knee).
Today's game will be preceded by a minute's silence in memory of the late Saints owner Markus Liebherr.
"I never met Markus Liebherr, but we have a good relationship with Saints and we'd like to pay our respects to the man whose money saved the club," said Spitfires director of football Dave Malone.