EASTLEIGH will have a new defender in their squad for tomorrow’s Blue Square Bet South trip to Weston-super-Mare.

Manager Richard Hill has signed promising young centre-back Alex Grant, 18, on a month’s loan from Portsmouth.

Born in Manchester, Grant played in the same junior football team, Deans FC, as Ryan Giggs. He lived in Perth, Australia, for several years and featured for the Australian under-17 national side.

He signed a two-year scholarship with Pompey in July 2011 and made his full first-team debut in the Capital One Cup against Plymouth Argyle.

The frozen and wet conditions mean Eastleigh have had a stop-start time of it of late with just four league games played since the beginning of November.

They are 13th in the table but are just four points shy of the play-off zone and, with out and out centre backs in short supply, Hill has moved to cover that position.

“Portsmouth let it be known Alex was available and I felt a player of his potential with first-team experience already could be an ideal situation to bring strength in the defensive area of the pitch,” said the boss.

“I have no control over what comes out of the sky but, with a busy Christmas period and eight games in January, all again weather permitting, Alex will be a very useful addition.”

Suspended duo Mark Hughes (one game) and Dale Binns (three games) miss tomorrow’s trip to Somerset, but will not be sitting idly in the stand.

Hill is sending them both out on scouting duties to size up future opponents.

“It’s something I’ve always done,” said Hill.

“I don’t leave suspended players idle.

“They work for the club and get paid by the club and, rather than being sat in the cold, they can go and do something productive.

“It’s a good idea.”