EASTLEIGH boss Richard Hill says new signing Chris Zebroski will be judged solely on what he does for the Spitfires.
The 26-year-old forward/right-sided player, who will come straight into the squad for tonight’s south coast duel at home to Havant & Waterlooville (7.45pm), has something of a chequered past.
But Hill doesn’t pretend to be an angel himself and believes managers and coaches can be too quick to give up on players if they feel they can’t handle them.
Eastleigh have beaten off League Two and Conference National competition for Zebroski’s signature.
He trained with the Spitfires yesterday and his arrival coincides with the departure of left-back Adam Everitt who is expected to sign for Blue Square Bet South rivals Hayes & Yeading.
Swindon-born Zebroski, a product of the Cirencester Academy, has a wealth of Football League experience behind him with Plymouth, Wycombe, Torquay and Bristol Rovers.
But his off-the-field misdemeanours have proved hard for clubs to live with.
Plymouth, his first professional club, sacked him following a fracas in a restaurant on a pre-season training camp in Austria in 2006.
Most recently he was released by Cheltenham Town in January by mutual agreement with 18 months still to run on his contract.
Hill, though, is not put off by Zebroski’s history.
“In my view too many coaches are too quick to give up the duty of care to players they feel they can’t handle,” said Hill.
“It’s easy to say someone’s a bad lad and don’t go near him, but tell me why.
“We’re in this league to try and get good players, no matter what their quirks might be.
“I’ve fallen foul myself of being judged by other people for things that went on years ago. It’s all too easy for people to criticise.
“I’ve told Chris he will be judged only on what he does at Eastleigh and how he conducts himself here.
“Signing Chris brings another player into the squad with proven championship-winning and promotion qualities.
“Yet his words to me were that he’s underachieved and that he wants to get his career back on track.
“I want to be able to say in the future that Chris trains great, he’s got a good attitude and he conducts himself brilliantly about the place.
“He’s a bloody good footballer with a bit of pace and he’s intelligent and makes good runs.
“He knows Toddy (centre-back Chris Todd) well and he’s a nice bloke.”
With Damian Scannell missing Saturday’s defeat at Hayes & Yeading with a groin problem and Craig McAllister going off with hamstring trouble, Zebroski’s arrival is a timely one.
Both Scannell and McAllister trained yesterday, but will need to be assessed today by physio Andy Cook.
Hill took some on-line flak from fans for seemingly dropping Michael Green on Saturday, but it transpires the full-back had been ill overnight.
“Those who said they’d have picked Greener in their team would have been playing with ten men because he was up all night long with sickness and diarrhoea,” said the boss.
Saturday’s reverse left Eastleigh six points adrift of the play-off zone in seventh. Havant, who came back from 2-0 down to hold league leaders Salisbury 2-2, are eight points behind the Spitfires in 19th.