The Coasters meet the Spitfires in National League action, with both sides searching for an all-important win to help really kickstart their seasons. 

Eastleigh visit Mill Farm off the back of a heavy 6-0 home defeat to Gateshead, and we have cast an eye on our visitors ahead of kick-off on the Fylde Coast.

The Lowdown

The Coasters head into this game looking to turn their form around and put some points on the board. A 0-2 defeat at home to Aldershot Town last time out in the league was not what Adam Murray’s side needed – however, he will have his troops prepared for the home game against Eastleigh.  

The Spitfires also come into this game on the back of two defeats after losing 0-6 at home to Gateshead in the league, whilst departing the Hampshire Senior Cup after losing on penalties at home to Hamble.

Interim boss Richard Hill will be looking for a reaction after last weekend’s capitulation. With both sides failing to be solid at the back lately, goals should be flying in at Mill Farm this weekend.

The Manager: Richard Hill 

Eastleigh were one of the first clubs in England to say goodbye to their manager in the 2023/24 season when they relieved Lee Bradbury of his duties after five games.

Up stepped Richard Hill, who has stepped in as Interim Manager for what is his third spell in the Spitfires dugout. Hill started off his playing career in the East Midlands with Leicester City.

From the Foxes, he moved to Nuneaton and then switched continents to play for Christchurch United in New Zealand. Hill soon moved back to England, where he joined Northampton Town and made over 100 appearances, scoring an average of a goal every other game.

That record earned him a move to Watford for what was a division-record fee of £250,000. His stay at the Hornets was not successful, only making 4 appearances before moving to Oxford United and then ending his career at Kettering Town due to injuries.  

Hill then enjoyed various assistant roles at Stevenage, Wycombe, QPR, Northampton, Gillingham, Tranmere and Aston Villa. He also took up scouting roles at Derby and coaching roles with Reading and Swindon. 

He then decided to do something quite out of the ordinary and joined the Ethiopian national team as technical director. A year later, he found himself as assistant manager of Kazakhstan’s Premier League side FC Kairat. 

In 2013, he moved back to the UK to take charge of Eastleigh. In Hill’s second season, he guided Eastleigh to the National League and took them to a playoff finish in his first season at this level. 

However, after a run of five defeats, Hill resigned in the 2015/16 season. He took a break from football for a year until he joined Whitehawk in 2016 as First-Team manager. This lasted a month before he joined Steve Bruce’s recruitment team at Aston Villa. 

Hill returned to the Spitfires in 2017 before moving to Sunderland as Head of Football Operations before moving back to his beloved Eastleigh in March 2023, later taking over as Interim Manager in August 2023.

Key Players

Scott Quigley – The tall strong centre forward is no stranger to Coasters fans after previously playing for Barrow and Stockport County.

A threat from set pieces with the ability to rise high in the air is one test the Coasters will more than likely face. 

Paul McCallum – Another man who will be well-known to Coasters fans after turning out for the likes of Solihull, Barnet, Dag & Red and Eastleigh. Another tall, dominating striker who is also a huge threat in the air.

Joe Mcdonnell –

A keeper with the potential to go far in the game and not just in the National League. McDonell is a key part of the Spitfires’ defence.

In the previous couple of seasons, Mcdonell has joined playoff teams Boreham Wood and Solihull Moors on emergency loans to help them get over the line. Unfortunately, on both occasions, it was unsuccessful.

Previous meetings

16th September 2017 – Eastleigh FC 2-2 AFC Fylde – National League

Goalscorers – Eastleigh FC – Reda Johnson & Gary Mcsheffery. 

Fylde – Henry Jones & Jordan Tunnicliffe.

3rd February 2018 – AFC Fylde 2-2 Eastleigh FC – National League

Goalscorers: Fylde – Henry Jones & Zaine Francis-Angol  

Eastleigh FC – Ryan Broom (x2)

8th September 2018 – Eastleigh FC 0-0 AFC Fylde – National League 

6th April 2019 – AFC Fylde 4-2 Eastleigh FC – National League

Goalscorers – Fylde – Dan Bradley, Jordan Tunicliffe, Nick Haughton & Alex Reid  

Eastleigh FC – Alex Wynter & Paul McCallum

21st September 2019 – AFC Fylde 3-1 Eastleigh FC – National League

Goalscorers – Fylde – Dan Bradley, Jordan Williams & Ryan Croasdale  

Eastleigh FC – Danny Holland

11th February 2020 – Eastleigh FC 2-2 AFC Fylde – National League 

Goalscorers – Eastleigh FC – Danny Holland & Jame§s Alabi

Fylde – Tom Walker & Jamie Proctor.

Opposition Form

The Spitfires arrive in Lancashire with a record not too dissimilar to the Coasters, with one win in their opening eight league games – however, they have managed to gain four draws, whereas the Coasters have one.

With the sacking of previous manager Lee Bradbury a bit of a strange call, the Spitfires also travel to Lancashire managerless.

Some may see this as an underwhelming start by the Hampshire side with the signings they have made -however, there is plenty of time to turn that around, and a win for either side could really kick-start their seasons. 

Match Preview is written by Benji Jenkinson.