RICHARD Hill says it’s a major feather in Eastleigh’s cap that new signing Matt Fry was sent their way by respected Luton Town boss John Still.
With left-back Michael Green launching into a three-match suspension at Dover Athletic yesterday, Hill made quick work of bringing in a ready-made replacement.
Fry, 23, is a former West Ham United trainee who has since played for Gillingham, Charlton Athletic, Bradford City and Dartford.
He made 15 appearances for the Darts last term after joining in June 2013, but was released in January after an injuryplagued spell.
Following a brief club-less period, he signed for Concord Rangers, making seven appearances last term as they finished ninth in the Conference South He spent most of pre-season with League Two newcombers Luton Town and arrived at Eastleigh last Monday having appeared for Chelmsford City on Saturday in their goalless draw with Bath City.
Hill explained: “Matt’s been about for a while. He’s a good lad with a good pedigree.
“He spent pre-season with Luton and, at one point, they were very close to signing him.
“I spoke to John Still about him and John’s still quite keen (on Fry), but he said that if I was in a position to sign him then he would highly recommend him.
“John knows Matt’s coming to a good club with good people and it gives him a chance to keep his eye on Matt.
“Even though he made one appearance for Chelmsford, it was just to get some games under his belt.
“We offered the lad the same circumstances as Chelmsford and, in a roundabout way it’s like us taking a Luton player on loan.”
With Eastleigh relative newcomers in the higher reaches of non-League, it didn’t surprise Hill that Fry wasn’t too familiar with the Stoneham Lane club.
“Matt spoke to John Still because he didn’t know much about Eastleigh or Richard Hill and John gave us a very good reference,”
said the Spitfires boss.
“Non-League football is quite incestuous, but when we’ve got a manager of a club like Luton Town telling a player he could do a lot worse than join Eastleigh, it speaks volumes for this football club,” he said.
With Dan Spence capable of switching across from the right-back, Hill could have reshuffled his side until Green’s return.
But, having weighed things up, he wanted a square peg in a square hole.
“Matt’s a natural replacement,” he said.
“We could have muddled through for a couple of weeks, but I didn’t want to take the risk of bringing Spence over to the left or potentially putting Jamie Collins there.
“It’s better to have an orthodox leftback.”
Fry is the Spitfires’ sixth signing since promotion to the Vanarama Conference.
He follows the arrivals of Paul Reid, Craig Stanley, Jack Midson and James Constable at the Silverlake Stadium as well as the return of striker Ben Wright, who was on loan at the Spitfires at the end of last season, scoring 13 goals as they won the Conference South.