Baird All...

Ian Baird With just two weeks until the much anticipated 2012-2013 campaign kick's off, we cornered a very busy Ian Baird at the Silverlake for the interview everybody wanted, here is the full transcript:

SN: Talk to us about the most recent signing Mark Hughes?
IB: Once again he is the profile of player I am looking for and has plenty of experience. He has played under pressure, captaining Barnet last year who were successful retaining their league status on a very small budget. He played for us at Sholing on Tuesday night and I liked what I saw and I liked what I heard - he seems a very good lad who will fit in well with us.

SN: How did you find out about Hughes, by all accounts you met him Monday, he played Tuesday and signed Thursday?
IB: That's right, with the advent of the internet and football agents, football has become such a small world. Agents are rife, even at our level and you always know what's around. (As we are chatting an agent is busy in the background making lots of noise about one of his unsigned players).

SN: Did the club need another headline central midfielder though?
IB: The fact of the matter is until today we only had three central midfielder's in McMahon, Reason and Southam and we needed competition as we want to play three in the middle of the park and if one of those got injured we would of been under a bit of pressure.

SN: How are you going to keep all these star players happy?
IB: In all honesty that doesn't concern me one little bit, I know what my remit is, if players can't handle being part of a squad where they have to fight for their jersey we shouldn't have signed them in the first place. Competition is healthy, it brings out the best in people and all I want is players with a massive thirst, a massive desire to achieve. We all know what we've got to achieve this term.

SN: And that achievement would be Blue Square South promotion?
IB: We have seen lots of teams in this league, or in fact any league, who have had big budgets and achieved nothing, Rome wasn't built in a day.

SN: but hitting the ground running must be critical?
IB: People keep saying that and I know that but as long as I'm given time and the right opportunity I have every confidence in my own ability. I've certainly been given the right backing from Stewart (Donald our majority shareholder) and everyone associated with Eastleigh Football Club who have been unbelievably supportive and all we all want to do is repay their faith.

SN: Do you know what formation you will be playing next year?
IB: The ideal formation for me is 4-3-3 but if we have to be flexible, we have to be flexible and the players will need to be flexible. I have worked towards a bigger man up front, with pace in every area. Macca's best position or certainly where he has been most successful is on the left hand side of a three, like when he was at Crawley. We've tried him out now a couple of times and he's done ok, but we need to be able to get 90 minutes off him.

SN: And do you know the starting 11 for our first league game at Boreham Wood 2 weeks from now?
IB: Of course I have a rough idea, but, I have always been a manager who says if you train well, play well, you'll keep your shirt.

SN: Injuries, where are we with them?
IB: Osei Sankofa is still about three weeks away as he had a metatarsal injury a week before pre-season whilst out running. Gary Elphick will struggle to play at Winchester as has a tight hamstring, Craig McAllister might be a doubt with his ongoing ankle problems. Mitchell Nelson will be out for a little while having picked up a knock from a bad tackle on Tuesday night, Marvin Williams opened up his knee on Saturday against North Leigh so will miss this weekend too.

SN: What about any more signings?
IB: I don't think we will have any more signings unless I get one or two out.


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