Spitfires set to put show on the road

By Wendy Gee

IAN Baird says Eastleigh's travelling "circus" must do better on the road if they are to stand any hope of reaching the Blue Square Bet South play-offs.

The Spitfires are a potent force at home, unbeaten in their last ten league matches at the Silverlake Stadium.

But Eastleigh's last league away win was back on November 12 at Farnborough since when they have picked up just two points from a possible 15 on their travels.

As Tuesday's 2-2 draw at relegation-threatened Staines Town demonstrated, no opposition can be taken for granted - particularly when, in Baird's words, "the circus is coming to town."

"As another manager said to me, everyone's seen what's happening at Eastleigh and what we're trying to achieve and they know the bar has been raised," said Baird.

"Teams have a different mindset about playing us and we've got to learn to deal with that.

"I didn't go to Staines expecting it to be easy, that's for sure.

"People talk about them being 'lowly', but I knew there was more to them when they'd beaten Chelmsford and Woking in their last four games.

"I was extremely disappointed with the first 70 minutes, but to come back from 2-0 down was a good point as far as I'm concerned."

Eastleigh now face two more away trips in the next four days - at Hampton & Richmond tomorrow and at Salisbury City on Tuesday (7.45) - and Baird reckons the results will "make or break" their season.

"Our home form's among the best in the league, but our away form's been scratchy and patchy," he said.

"We've got 14 games to go and the maths tells you that we've got to win 11 of them, which is a tall order.

"The expectancy level of supporters has gone up, which is understandable, but if we don't win every game from now until the end of the season, it doesn't mean we've done badly.

"From the outset it was always going to be a massive ask.

"We've tried to bring in the right players at the right time, but Rome wasn't built in a day."

Barring injured ex-Saint Jordace Holder-Spooner, Eastleigh are at full strength. Richard Gillespie, Chris Flood and Gary Elphick all kept sharp with a game for the reserves this week.


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