High hopes for Jack
By Wendy Gee -
EASTLEIGH boss Ian Baird suspects the Spitfires have another teenage gem on their hands.
Although 18-year-old centre back Jack Vallis has played just 90 minutes of first-team football for the Spitfires in the Hampshire Senior Cup, Baird has seen enough in reserve and academy games to believe he has a bright future.
With a loan to Wessex Premier Romsey on the cards for Vallis, it could be some time before the former Engalnd schoolboy defender gets a taste of life in the BSB South.
But the former Amesbury player, signed from Western Leaguers Shrewton during the summer, is rated one for the future by Baird who has already helped home-grown Spitfires defender Aaron Martin turn pro with Saints.
Vallis is one of several youngsters training full-time with Eastleigh as part of their player development scheme and is being sent to Romsey to "toughen up".
Baird said: "If Jack carries on improving the way he has, he's got a chance.
"He's a different sort of player to Aaron Martin, but he's got potential. He's 6ft tall and giraffe-like and his style of play is pleasing on the eye.
"He runs well and has nice ability on the ball. But the only senior football he's played is at Shrewton and he hasn't really been coached. We've improved him a lot since he came here full-time and nows the time to go and toughen up."
Eastleigh host Maidenhead tomorrow looking to build on last Saturday's 3-1 win at Thurrock.
Midfielder Jamie Brown is suspended and there are doubts over utility man Ross Bottomley who had emergency dental treatment last Sunday.
"Rosco had to come off at Thurrock when one of his teeth lodged in the roof of his mouth," said Baird. "The tooth didn't come out, but it went right up into his mouth and he had to go to hospital and have it re-aligned."
Eastleigh yesterday signed ex-Winchester City striker Chris Flood on a month's loan from Dorchester Town.