EASTLEIGH have moved to take the weight off targetman Craig McAllister by signing Ben Wright on an initial month’s loan from Conference Premier outfit Salisbury City.
McAllister sat out last Saturday’s FA Trophy defeat against Cambridge United injured.
The problem is not believed to be serious, but wily boss Richard Hill has covered his bases by bringing in 25-year-old Wright who, despite his relatively tender age, has racked up a wealth of experience with the likes of Hampton & Richmond, Peterborough United, Crawley and Braintree.
Wright started out with his home town club Basingstoke Town and recently finished a month’s loan back at the Camrose. But, due to the spate of wet weather postponements, he played only three games for Eastleigh’s Skrill Conference South rivals.
He did, however, make a difference to Stoke, particularly with his hold-up play – a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by Hill.
The Eastleigh manager said: “It was brought to my attention that Ben was available to go out on loan and, once again, I’d like to thank (chairman) Stewart Donald for allowing me to do it.
“I want to take the workload off Macca a bit and I had a long conversation with Ben about what we want to achieve at Eastleigh and he’s coming here for the right reasons.
“He’s coming to a club with competition for places all over the pitch and he wants to roll his sleeves up and fight for a position.
“Out of courtesy to Basingstoke manager Jason Bristow, I told him we were taking Ben before we’d done the deal and Jason spoke very highly of him.”
Wright is set to join the squad to face Maidenhead United at the Silverlake tomorrow but, with yet more rain forecast, it must be touch and go whether the game goes ahead.
The second-placed Spitfires were denied the chance to try and narrow the 11-point gap on leaders Bromley on Tuesday when the home game against Dover was postponed.
But though squeezing in another 20 league fixtures before the end of April is not ideal, Hill is reasonably relaxed about it.
He said: “We’re fortunate we’ve been able to train on Astroturf. Wellington (sports ground) have been decent accommodating us and we’ve also used Wide Lane and our own Astroturf pitch.
“It’s one of the reasons we took the decision to go to daytime training.
“Securing facilities in the day is far easier than when they’re all booked up at night.
“The weather is what it is. No one’s to blame because no one can affect what falls out of the sky.
“Rather than getting concerned about it, I’m better off putting my thought process into keeping the players as fit and healthy as they can be for when we do play.
“We’re in an industry where you have to plan ahead and it can be soul destroying preparing for a game when you know there’s minimal chance of it going ahead.
“But if it wasn’t for the hard work of our supporters, we wouldn’t have played our last two Saturday games.
“If you’d seen the pitch when I got there last week to how it was when the (Trophy) game started, it was unrecognisable.
“My greatest concern is that if teams playing our direct opposition, like Bromley, have to play two or even three times a week towards the end of the season, they might not be able to field their strongest sides due to injury, suspension etc.
“I suggested requesting the transfer deadline be extended, but our secretary Ray Murphy said that will never happen.”