EASTLEIGH defender Luke Byles didn’t ought to be going travelling at the end of the season – he ought to be going to a Football League club.

So says Spitfires director of football David Malone, who can’t believe a player of ex-Saint Byles’s quality has been overlooked for a return to the professional ranks.

Byles put in a man-of-the-match performance in Eastleigh’s 1-0 victory over Weston-super-Mare last Saturday to keep them firmly in contention for the Blue Square South play-offs. But he later revealed that he won’t be around next season irrespective of whether the Spitfires gain promotion to promised land of the Conference national.

Instead the 25-year-old is off to travel the world with fellow ex-Saint Phil Warner of AFC Totton.

“It’ll be a shame to lose Bylesy,” said Malone. “He came to us with a bit of a mixed reputation but, for me, he didn’t ought to be going travelling, he ought to be signing for a Football League club.

“Some of the scouts out there must be blind. If there’s a better left-back/left-sided central defender than Luke in Leagues One or Two, he must be a hell of a player.

“I don’t think Luke’s ever had a bad game in an Eastleigh shirt and it’s a crying shame he’s not with a League club.”

Fifth-placed Eastleigh lose midfielder Gavin Heeroo to suspension at Worcester City tomorrow, but hope to have on-loan Brighton striker Jonny Dixon back after a month out with a dead leg.

Worcester, who sit 12th, are managed by ex-Saint Richard Dryden, a former Bristol City teammate of Baird’s.

Full story in today's Daily Echo.