RICHARD Hill anticipates “more bumps in the road” before he can steer Eastleigh to where they want to be.

But the man who masterminded the club’s rise to the National League three years ago insists he wouldn’t have returned to the Silverlake in February unless he was up for the challenge of picking up the pieces of a shambolic 2016/17 campaign.

Hill is not in the business of washing the club’s dirty laundry in public but, suffice to say, there has been some heavy-duty sorting-out to do in the aftermath of a chaotic season.

In fact he openly admits that, if it wasn’t for his experienced sidekick Andy Hessenthaler, he would find it near impossible to juggle his role as behind-the-scenes troubleshooter with building a side capable of challenging for promotion to League Two.

Six weeks into the season there is still much work to do on both fronts.

After four draws on the spin, the Spitfires tasted their first home defeat, 1-0, to Maidstone United on Tuesday, leaving them 15th after ten games.

That inevitably piles on the pressure against AFC Fylde at the Silverlake on Saturday, but Hill will not be bowed by the weight of expectation.

He said: “I’m aware the results need to be better, but people must understand that there’s a transitional process to go through.

“There has always been expectation at Eastleigh – and so there should be because it’s a really good club.

“I wouldn’t have left my role scouting for Aston Villa for any other club, but I was prepared to step away from a job with a Championship club to come back, roll my sleeves up and make this work.

“There’s still a lot of tidying up to do, but we’re getting there.

"I knew exactly what I was stepping into and, had I not been up for the fight, I’d have stayed at Villa.”

Hill added: “Some very strange things were done last season and I don’t blame Stewart (Donald, chairman) or the previous three managers for that. 

"But I’m taking the brunt of the legacy left behind while at the same time trying to make the team competitive on the pitch.

“But I knew exactly what I was stepping into and, had I not been up for the fight, I’d have stayed at Aston Villa.

"Yes, there's expectation at Eastleigh but you can only realise that expectation at the end of the season. No-one's winning any leagues in September."

Long-term injured quartet Ben Williamson, Gavin Hoyte, Sam Togwell and Paul McCallum have no hope of facing a Fylde side who sit 20th, a point adrift of the Spitfires.

However, having sat out the Maidstone defeat with a stiff groin, defensive titan Reda Johnson trained well this morning.

Fylde lost 2-1 at Macclesfield on Tuesday - gunned down by two-goal ex-Eastleigh marksman Scott Wilson.