Eastleigh boss a full-time fan
By Wendy Gee -
EASTLEIGH boss Richard Hill has stressed that the club's latest move towards full-time football will be built around first-team players.
The Blue Square Bet South outfit have twice gone down the road of daytime training before, most recently at the start of last season.
On that occasion it was mainly youngsters involved as part of the club's player development programme.
But this time Hill will be working exclusively with the first-team squad as the Spitfires look to follow league leaders Salisbury City down the full-time professional path.
"This is a first-team squad thing," stressed Hill. "We're not just going to bring players along to make up the numbers because that would dilute the quality.
"We had two young players involved in our first session on Tuesday, Corey King and Cassius Newton, but both have been involved with first-team training for a month.
"This is all about trying to take the first team squad forward.
"We had 14 players there on Tuesday, including Craig McAllister, Lee Peacock, Jai Reason, Glen Southam, Mark Hughes, Damian Scannell, Tom Jordan and Ross Flitney and it was really upbeat. I see it as a very positive thing.
"Any club that wants to be successful has got to train more than two nights a week."
Just as Salisbury found when they first went full-time under Nick Holmes and Tommy Widdrington, not every player is able to commit to daytime training.
But like the Whites, Eastleigh will continue twice-weekly evening sessions for those unable to get away from work.
"Going full-time is not something you can do unless you've got players who all fit the same criteria and, unfortunately, we haven't," said Hill.
"We've got lads in the squad who are very good players but have also got very good jobs which they are not in a position to jeopardise.
"We can't just forget those players and tell them to train on their own or say they're not playing - that's not the way forward.
"We have to work around those who can train during the day and those who can't," added Hill.
"For everything you need a starting point and Tuesday was ours.
"In the initial stage we will train in the afternoon on a training day (Tuesday and Thursday) and before the end of the season I will look to introduce another day as well.
"Pro clubs train Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, so we're doing 50 per cent of that already and, as long as I am manager, we will continue to progress."