Should Eastleigh Opt For A Dark Horse In Managerial Search? – Opinion

With applications closing for the manager’s job at Eastleigh this week there are at least one or two names that should be in consideration if the Spitfires are to start climbing the table.

The Hampshire outfit have been under the interim control of Director of Football Richard Hill since parting company with Lee Bradbury five games into the season.

Having invested some serious money over the summer, owner Stewart Donald was expecting his side to be challenging in and around the play-offs but after just a month of the new season he is already needing a new man in place.

There should be no shortage of managers waiting for an interview and some already with other clubs might well fancy their chances of reviving the Spitfires who narrowly missed out on the play-off’s last season.

The impressive work at Wealdstone by Stuart Maynard won’t have gone under the radar. The only part time club in the 24 team division have defied the odds to comfortably stay in the league on each of the last three seasons and Maynard is one of the hottest properties around.

What might not tempt the 42-year-old to move is the luxury of a well paid job outside of football that fits nicely around his part time commitments. However, full time jobs don’t come around too often at this level and Maynard might find he needs to move sooner rather than later whilst his stock is high.

Adam Hinshelwood at National League South Worthing is another who will be talked about as a potential candidate. Having led Worthing to the Isthmian League title two years ago, the ex-Brighton defender took the Sussex side to the play-off’s last time out and already has them in contention again.

It would be no surprise to see Hinshelwood linked to a job further along the coast and as a full time manager at the Sussex Transport Stadium already, there is little change in circumstances for the popular manager.

Jack Ross who is well known to Donald from his time at Sunderland where he enjoyed a degree of success. However, his record back in his native Scotland after leaving England was a little mixed and as seen in the past a lack of National League knowledge can result in a short appointment.

A major coup for the club would be to tempt Danny and Nicky Cowley back into non-league for another project. Whilst they would certainly have the nous to get Eastleigh firing and competing once again it’s uncertain they would look to start again having enjoyed life in the Football League. However, that’s not to say they wouldn’t be tempted to get back into the game and Eastleigh are not an unattractive proposition.

A very dark horse for the job would be the coach the Cowley’s took with them to Portsmouth, Simon Bassey. Bassey had a short, but engaging spell at Barnet in 2021 before leaving for the South Coast at the end of his contract. A well-respected coach within the lower levels of the game his spell at AFC Wimbledon as a player and long term coaching staff member there is every chance he would fit under a Director of Football which is very much ingrained in Eastleigh’s strategy, the question is whether Donald and Hill will go down the route of the untried and largely untested or experienced and ready for a full on promotion tilt despite the poor start.

Writer’s View

If Stewart Donald and Richard Hill are serious about getting Eastleigh into the Football League then experience of this level or below are vital to make a quick turnaround before the season runs away with them.

Stuart Maynard would be the obvious choice based on that assumption but a majority of those mentioned above haven’t worked under a Director of Football although Adam Hinshelwood at Worthing does.

Taking a coach instead of a manager can also fit the process just as well, the day to day running taken by Hill upstairs and a requirement to just get results, however it pans out Eastleigh need start climbing the table or the season is almost a write off before it’s barely begun.

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