WHETHER Marlon Jackson will do enough to earn himself an Eastleigh squad number in the Conference Premier this season remains to be seen.
But the 23-year-old former Bristol City, Hereford, Bury and Halifax winger has already ticked two important boxes for manager Richard Hill.
Off the field he has demonstrated a level of dedication that has impressed the Spitfires boss. Off it, he showed in last Thursday’s 2-0 friendly win over Swindon Town that he has something different to bring to the party.
Hill, who leads his men to Billericay Town’s New Lodge tonight for their fifth pre-season fixture, said: “Marlon’s agent has had him all over the place and he phoned me out of the blue last week. I spoke to Toddy (player-coach) Chris Todd about him and he said he’s decent.
“He’s a nice lad, but I don’t know if we can meet his demands or if there’s room in the budget. I’m having a look just to see and I said I’d give him a week.
“He could have gone to Carlisle this week, but he turned them down to stay with us and he’s already helped himself by what happened last Thursday. He phoned me at lunchtime, I spoke to Toddy at 2.30pm and by 6pm he was sat in our dressing room.
“That goes a long way in my book because I’m asking players to go above and beyond the call of duty to play for me and he’s already demonstrated that he’s prepared to do that.
“He can play on either wing and he’s a bit different to what we’ve already got because he’s quick and goes past players. We’ll see how things go.”
Having been outplayed 4-0 by AFC Bournemouth last Tuesday, Hill was pleased with the response against Swindon as goals by triallist Lawson De’Ath and player/assistant manager Craig McAllister swept the Spitfires to victory.
“The Tuesday game was a kick up the backside for us all with the realisation of how far we are away from being a very good team, but the Swindon game was one of those when everything went for us,” said Hill.
Billericay, tenth in the Ryman Premier last term, will pose a different kind of test tonight before Eastleigh entertain their third Football League opposition, Crawley Town, at the Silverlake on Saturday (3pm).