RICHARD Hill has got the Eastleigh squad-trimming process under way by transfer-listing three players.

Defenders Chinua Cole and Ayo Obileye and midfielder Ross Stearn have all been made available.

When Hill responded to the Spitfires’ SOS call in February, he inherited a mix-and-match squad assembled by the three managers – Chris Todd, Ronnie Moore and Martin Allen – who had followed him into the Silverlake hot-seat in quick succession.

He was able to release seven players at the end of the season, while five loanees went back to their parent clubs. But that still left him with 12 existing contract players on the books.

On top of that, Michael Green, Craig McAllister and James Constable were offered new contracts, while experienced duo Ben Strevens and Paul Reid are staying as part of the coaching/scouting staff.

Club owner Stewart Donald has stated that summer signings will likely run into double figures if Eastleigh are to get back on track after a seriously below-par 2016/17.

So it doesn’t need a mathematician to tell you that more players must be moved on to balance the books.

Between them Cole, Obileye and Stearn have had very little first-team football for the Spitfires.

Obileye, who arrived from Charlton Athletic last summer, weighed in with some important goals in the second half of the season but, with stiff competition in the centre-back position, the 22-year-old was still not a regular on the team sheet.

Signed on a two-year deal, Obileye played 16 times for the Spitfires and also had a spell out on loan at Dover Athletic.

Big things were expected of 26-year-old winger Stearn when he arrived form National League rivals Sutton United in November for an undisclosed fee.

Stearn signed a two-and-a-half-year contract, but he too struggled to hold down a place. His cause wasn't helped by the fact that he was cup-tied and missed the FA Cup run. He scored twice in 18 Eastleigh games.

Left-back Chinua Cole, 23, was restricted to just six appearances after Allen signed him on a two-and-a-half year deal from Ryman Premier outfit Staines Town in January.

A club statement said: “All three players should have no trouble in finding alternative clubs and their details have been circulated accordingly."