EASTLEIGH have made it ‘one in, one out’ with the signing of attacking midfielder Jack McKnight from Basingstoke Town.

The 21-year-old’s arrival follows hot on the heels of veteran striker James Constable departing on loan to Poole Town until January 4 with an option to stay with the Evo-Stik Premier South club until the end of the season.

McKnight will be well known to the Spitfires’ new assistant boss Jason Bristow from his time in charge at Basingstoke.

The youngster has already reached double figures of goals this season and Eastleigh have beaten off interest from other National League clubs in the race for his signature.

Spitfires boss Ben Strevens, who is gradually bringing down the average age of the Eastleigh squad, said: “We are very pleased to get the deal for Jack over the line.

“He is an exciting addition and exactly the type of player we need for both the short term and long term.

“He’ll offer us something different and will be another option for us in midfield.”

McKnight’s progress this season is all the more laudable considering he dislocated a shoulder in a friendly against Alton early in the summer.

He worked hard to regain fitness and, after making his first start of the season on September 18, became what Basingstoke described as an “immovable object” in midfield, picking up two player-of-the-month awards.

“It’s a real testament to the attitude, application and character of the boy,” said a Basingstoke Town statement. “Jack has been a shining example of what hard work and determination can achieve.

“He, of course, re-joins Jason Bristow at Eastleigh, so we know he will be well looked after. We’d like to thank Eastleigh for their openness and transparency with the handling of the move.”

Martin Kuhl, recently appointed permanent successor to Bristow at Basingstoke, recalled: “I released Jack as a small, skinny lad from Reading Academy! He’s knuckled down and turned into a good footballing young man who I think will be a big plus for Eastleigh.”

Constable, 34, featured for Poole in their 1-1 draw at Beaconsfield Town on Saturday having made the loan move 24 hours earlier.

Dolphins boss Tom Killick said: “We took a bit of a risk because James hasn’t played many games.

“He is not match fit, but we knew he had the quality and experience to come straight in and do well, which was the case.

“He will get better and better as his match fitness improves.”

Constable, who joined Eastleigh from Oxford United in May 2014, tweeted: “Thanks to everyone @EastleighFC for the last 4 ½ years, really enjoyed my time at the football club!

"Been a pleasure to be part of such a special club & meet so many great people & make friends for life! Hope the lads continue the good run & get the club in the football league!”

Next up for Eastleigh is a trip to Hemel Hempstead Town on Saturday in the FA Trophy first round proper.