EASTLEIGH’S home pre-season programme is falling apart at the seams with two more scheduled games against Football League opposition falling by the wayside.

Saturday’s eagerly awaited home friendly against promoted League Two champions Portsmouth has been cancelled along with the visit of Newport County the following weekend (July 22).

Those two cancellations follow the disappointment of AFC Wimbledon backing out last Saturday due to concerns surrounding the Spitfires’ newly-laid pitch.

A statement issued by the National League outfit this morning explained that the Newport game had been called off “due to circumstances beyond the club’s control.”

That fixture will be replaced by a trip to Sydenhams Wessex One side Alton on Friday, July 21, to play on their synthetic surface. It will offer Eastleigh handy practice for their August 5 league opener at Bromley, who are installing a 3G pitch.

Following the concerns raised by AFC Wimbledon at the weekend, Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett requested a meeting with the club yesterday.

It was agreed that, due to the extreme hot weather and potential heavy thunderstorms in the coming days, it would be sensible to cancel the fixture as early as possible “for the long-term benefit of the Eastleigh playing surface and for the scheduling of both clubs’ pre-season preparation.”

The game against Sheffield United on Friday, July 28, is still due to go ahead.

Eastleigh's chief executive Mark Jewell said: “Having had a last-minute fixture cancellation on Saturday, the last thing the club wants is a repeat performance this weekend.

"The result of calling a game off last-minute for a regular fixture is bad enough, so we feel that with the added burden of a huge police bill for this fixture and the fact that the weather is so uncertain at this point, due to the extreme heat and the threat of very heavy rainfall, the exposure to the club is just too high.

“This is extremely disappointing for all concerned as, deep down, I feel the pitch will be in excellent condition on Saturday.

“However, it is crucial that both clubs leave nothing to chance in the run-up to the new season.

"We are sorry for the inconvenience to both sets of fans but hope the long-term benefits will outweigh any potential short-term gains of playing this fixture".

"We fully appreciate the disappointment for Eastleigh spectators but we do ask them to take an understanding view on the decision as we try to ensure the best possible playing surface for their side during the league season.”

The club are offering refund options to all fans who have bought tickets in advance. Please go to the club website at www.eastleighfc.com for details.

The Spitfires are due to visit Basingstoke Town this evening (7.45pm).