BT SPORT’S decision to televise Eastleigh’s first ever Conference Premier home match against Aldershot has left the Spitfires facing two home games in less than 48 hours.
The Hampshire derby, originally scheduled for Tuesday, August 12, has been put back two days to Thursday, August 14 (7.45pm).
And there will be little time for a breather for Richard Hill’s new stars of the small screen as they open the Silverlake doors again to Gary Mills’ Gateshead on Saturday, August 16.
“We tried to get the fixture switched to the Sunday, but quite a few Gateshead people had already booked flights down, so it means we’ve got to play Thursday night and Saturday afternoon,” said Spitfires boss Richard Hill.
“It would have been nice if we could have moved it to the Sunday but it wasn’t to be and, at the end of the day, it’s another big first for the club.
“It will be our first home game in the Conference Premier, the highest level the club’s ever played at, and the first time in Eastleigh’s history that they’ve been on television.”
Hill, who led his side to the Conference South title and automatic promotion in his first full season in charge at the Silverlake, added: “I was looking back the other day and thinking you wouldn’t believe how far this club’s come forward in the last two years.
“The ground’s unrecognisable now. The terracing over the far side (opposite the stand) looks really decent and there’s more at the clubhouse end.
“If we can get a crowd of 3,000 at some stage, which I hope we do, it’s going to be great.”
Eastleigh’s backroom staff has also been swelled with Noel Blackwell – brother of former Leeds, Sheffield United, Luton and Bury boss Kevin - installed as chief scout.
Blackwell, who spent 12 years at one of Hill’s old clubs Stevenage, rising to assistant manager, had already been successfully scouting for the Spitfires on a more informal basis.
“We’ve made Noel chief scout now and we’re paying him quite good money,” said Hill.
“It’s part-time, but these roles are never really part-time because the phone’s always on.”