EASTLEIGH boss Andy Hessenthaler may well stick with just four summer signings – unless one of his trialists persuades him otherwise.

The Spitfires are having to be more prudent with their budget following the departure of wealthy former owner/chairman Stewart Donald to Sunderland.

And with many of their existing squad still under contract, summer arrivals won’t be spilling into double figures as they have for the past couple of seasons.

Four players have already penned deals – ex-Saint Oscar Gobern, full-back Josh Hare, centre-back Alex Wynter and defender/midfielder Joe Jones – and four more were handed a trial in Saturday’s 2-1 friendly win over Reading.

It was an unusually early start to pre-season and, with time on his side, Hessenthaler is happy to take another look at Cameron Murray, Richard Gilot, Bayley Brown and Aziz Deen-Conteh when the Spitfires travel to Gosport Borough on Friday (July 6, 7.30pm).

Speaking after Saturday’s game, Hessenthaler said: “Things have changed with the chairman going to Sunderland and I was only going to sign three players. But, to be fair to the club, they've allowed me to bring in a fourth, Joey Jones.

“The bulk of the budget was taken up by existing players and I didn’t have much left in the budget for anyone else.

“The new signings we’ve got will probably be it. I’ve not identified anyone else.

“Two of the trialists who were with us (on Saturday) were recommended to me and, with the other two, I had phone calls from agents asking me to have a look.

“I thought they all did well against Reading and the good thing about us coming back early for pre-season is that it gives me a bit more time to have another look at them and it gives them more time (to look elsewhere) if the answer is ‘no’.

"We’ll get them involved against Gosport on Friday and after that I'll make a decision. It's not fair on them otherwise."

Last term it was an AFC Bournemouth loan player Sam Matthews (now of Bristol Rovers) who scooped the player-of-the-season honours for Eastleigh in the National League.

And Hessenthaler will have the club’s blessing to dip into the loan market again should the need arise.

“The club have said that if another Sam Matthews comes up who doesn’t cost too much money, we could sort out a loan if we need to. We've got plenty of contacts,” said the boss.

“I know people at clubs like Reading and Millwall and Ben (Strevens, assistant) and Ross (Flitney, goalkeeper coach) have got a lot of good contacts too.”