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Hill urges Eastleigh to maintain focus for play-off push
8:30am Tuesday 12th March 2013 in Hampshire Sport
EASTLEIGH boss Richard Hill is urging players and fans to “stay grounded” as the club gear up for one final push towards the Blue Square Bet South play-offs.
The Spitfires entertain Boreham Wood tonight (7.45pm) knowing victory would take them onto level points with the Hertfordshire side, who currently occupy the fourth and final play-off spot.
Eastleigh have come a long way since their second-to-bottom days of early January, winning eight and drawing one of their last 11 league games.
There have been a couple of slip-ups along the way at Sutton and Hayes which still rankle with Hill, but after getting another good win in the bag, 2-0 at Maidenhead on Saturday, it’s clear to see why expectancy levels are growing.
“Two months ago the club could only have dreamed of being in this position and everyone’s getting excited – and rightly so,” said Hill, pictured below.
“We’ve picked up 25 points from our last 11 games and only conceded ten goals in that time.
“Now we’re just trying to win as many games as we can and see where it takes us come the end of April.
“From having no hope at the start of January, we’ve given ourselves that bit of hope and everyone now, including the fans, needs to keep their feet on the ground and stick together.
“We must have had around 200 fans at Maidenhead on Saturday and the support they gave us was great.
“Now we must keep ourselves grounded, work hard in every game and hopefully get the breaks we deserve by continuing to play well.”
Having been installed as pre-season title favourites following a summer of spending by Hill’s predecessor Ian Baird, Eastleigh were given a rude awakening when beaten 3-0 at Boreham Wood on the opening day of the campaign.
The Hertfordshire side have been up among the play-offs ever since but have paid the price for drawing too many games.
Saturday’s 0-0 stalemate at Dorchester – where they played against ten men following the 52nd-minute dismissal of Magpies’ Nathan Walker – was their 12th draw of the season, casting them 14 points adrift of pacemakers Welling and Salisbury.
After watching his side frustrated by a defiant display from Dorchester’s ex-Eastleigh goalkeeper Jason Matthews, Wood boss Ian Allinson said: “We failed to convert enough chances to have won two games, but we shall take the positives on to Eastleigh.
“We looked dangerous and a handful for the opposition. It’s a shame we are drawing so many games. Had we turned a few of those into wins, we would be out of sight now.”
Eastleigh will check on the progress of targetman Craig McAllister, who has been out with hamstring trouble but did the warm-up before Saturday’s game.