EASTLEIGH skipper Glen Southam is confident the Spitfires can pull off a massive FA Trophy shock against Cambridge United this afternoon.
Richard Hill’s Conference South high-fliers will be just a two-legged semi final away from a Wembley final if they can stun the U’s at the Silverlake Stadium, writes PAUL McNAMARA.
Cambridge, sitting second in the Conference Premier and chasing a return to the Football League after a nine year absence, will provide a stern examination of Eastleigh’s credentials. “These are the games that you want to play in,” said Southam. “We’ve got a squad here that we believe can compete in the league above. “We’ve got a lot of players that have played in the league above, and higher than that.”
Eastleigh, also second in their league, have already caused one major Trophy shock this season when they beat Cambridge’s divisional rivals Gateshead. “It’s nice to go into a game, like against Gateshead, where the opposition will come and attack. That suits us,” Southam recalled. “We don’t get it much in this league. “It’s a big game and a massive test of how far we’ve come, but Gateshead was as well. “They came here off the back of a terrific run (Gateshead had lost just one of their previous nine league matches) and we deservedly beat them. “Cambridge are second and going well. It’s a big club with a big following and a good history. It’ll be nice. There will be a big crowd and it’s a good game for us at this time of the season. “It’s a little bit of a break from the league but it’s a game we believe we can go and win.”
For all that he dreams of featuring in a Wembley final, Southam knows Eastleigh’s main priority is promotion to the elite level of English non league football.
“The league is still the main focus,” he said. “If you give me a choice between winning the league and getting to the Trophy final, I’d rather win the league because that’s our main goal. “But, the closer you get (to a final) the more of a reality it becomes. “It is a dream for everybody at this level. If you’ve got a good squad it’s a realistic opportunity to get to Wembley. “There’s a few teams left in the competition that can compete to win it and we believe we’re one of them.
“When you’re two or three games from Wembley it’s hard not to think about it, but we’ve got our feet on the ground. “We can go into the Cambridge game with no pressure.”
Big interview with Glen Southam in this weekend’s Sports Pink.