EASTLEIGH have confirmed that the club will be staying in familiar hands as Stewart Donald’s proposed buyout of Sunderland edges ever closer.

A brief EFC statement issued earlier today said that Donald, the Spitfires’ owner and majority shareholder, had “agreed to sell the club to existing board members, along with a number of senior management staff currently working for the club.”

Eastleigh have been in discussion with the National League regarding the change of ownership and are now awaiting confirmation of their approval before matters can be concluded.

Including Donald, Eastleigh ended last season with seven directors – Mick Budny, Mick Geddes, Alan Harding, Mark Jewell, Alan Prebble and Pete Vickery completing the line-up.

Jewell, who has been off work through ill health of late, is the chief executive, while the day-to-day running of the club is handled by general manager Kenny Amor.

On the playing side, former first-team boss Richard Hill is Eastleigh’s director of football, while manager Andy Hessenthaler is supported by a backroom team of Ben Strevens and Paul Reid, along with player/goalkeeper coach Ross Flitney.

Donald, who has sunk in excess of £10 million into the Spitfires, made it clear from the outset that he was prepared to give the club away as long as it fell into the right hands.

Not only that he said that, legalities allowing, he would be leaving some cash “as a buffer” for the next owners.

Speaking in a recent interview with BBC Radio Solent, Donald said: “Fundamentally I would have thought the football club could continue to be self-sustainable and could keep the budget as it is for the next couple of years.

“I’ll leave some cash in there as a buffer for them (the next owners) but, again, I’ll need to look at this legally just to make sure they can’t put any loans against things etc.

"I’ve worked ever so hard to clear the loans, tidy up the debt and invest in the club and the last thing I, or any Eastleigh fan, would want to find is that, in two years’ time, they’ve leveraged the ground, it’s all gone wrong and they’re in trouble.

“I will make sure that doesn’t happen."

Donald estimates Eastleigh's current income is somewhere between £2.5 and £2.7 million and the millionaire businessman sees no reason why the goal of bringing League football to the Silverlake cannot be achieved without him.

"That's a very healthy income for a National League club. It’s probably a top-five or six budget at least," he said. "I’m comfortable that I’m leaving it in the best condition I can.

“Realistically I’ll probably only sell it to people I know because the most important thing is making sure they know what the club is all about.

“I’m putting myself in an Eastleigh fan’s perspective – and what they want is a safe, sustainable football club that can compete.

“I’m going to be giving it to someone who hasn’t got to put any money in it for a year at least, so they need to look after it. They’ve got to do it the right way.”