IT'S been a long time coming by Eastleigh's normally high-speed standards, but the Blue Square (Conference) South club have finally unveiled their first pre-season signing.

Damien Scannell, an exciting, young winger courted by a host of Football League clubs, is moving south from league rivals Fisher Athletic.

Scannell, formerly with Thames Poly and Greenwich Borough, has been banging on the door of professional football since having trials with Luton Town in November 2004.

He was on trial at Millwall as recently as February, 2007 and there were reports last season that Watford were preparing a bid for the talented 21-year-old who had impressed Hornets' manager Aidy Boothroyd during trials and scouting missions.

Nottingham Forest, Northampton Town and Swansea City were also linked with loan moves for the youngster last autumn, but he opted to stay with Fisher until January in the hope of pinning down a permanent move when the transfer window re-opened.

The move did not materialise, however, and Scannell finished the season playing for Dulwich Hamlet, Fisher's landlords at Champion Hill.

The flying winger scored seven goals in 33 appearances for Fisher in 2005/6, helping the Rotherhithe outfit to promotion to the Nationwide South via the play-offs.

Scannell, whose brother, Sean, plays for Crystal Palace's Academy, is rated a "very exciting prospect" by Eastleigh's managing director Dave Malone.

"We tried to get him here last season, but we weren't in the field to pay £50,000 for him," said Malone.

"He's predominantly right-footed but he can play either on the left or the right."

See today's Daily Echo for the latest in non-league football.