Castle hopes for signings
MIDFIELDER Dean Cracknell is expected to rejoin Saints this week and could partner former Cambridge City man James Quilter in the centre of midfield at Eastleigh. Saints lodged a seven-day approach to Hemel Hempstead Town for Cracknell last week and care
MIDFIELDER Dean Cracknell is expected to rejoin Saints this week and could partner former Cambridge City man James Quilter in the centre of midfield at Eastleigh.
Saints lodged a seven-day approach to Hemel Hempstead Town for Cracknell last week and caretaker boss Steve Castle will hope to sign him to bolster his depleted squad for Saturday.
The defeat at Havant & Waterlooville on Saturday was the second successive game in which Castle's Saints had taken the lead but been unable to go on and get the points. The caretaker boss said: "The performances in short spells have been quite encouraging. I think we can see where, no disrespect to the lads, they are bottom of the table and the problem is more mental than physical. When Havant & Waterlooville equalised it was like they had gone 3-0 up. We have got to keep believing in ourselves and keep doing the right things.
"We were extremely unlucky against Sutton United but officials will be officials and decided to play a big part in the game. I think, on Saturday, Havant were slightly the better team over 90 minutes but we did not defend two set plays and the third goal came when we were chasing the game which made it a bit of a false result really. We scored the best goal of the game. It was a fantastic move involving four or five players and we need to make sure that, no matter where we are coming from, we keep on that front foot rather than going on the back foot if teams equalise."
Castle was able to secure the signatures of defender James Quilter and striker Simon Martin for the match at Havant and also recalled Ben Martin to the side after his recent absence. The manager was pleased with their impact on the match. He said: "I think all three strengthened the team. Ben Martin bolstered that back four and would probably need two or three more training sessions to be right up with things. Simon Martin did very well and linked up with Lee Clarke. Hopefully that is a partnership that can bear fruit as it has done in recent years. Simon is a great lad and bolsters our attacking options. James Quilter is a centre back by trade and really he can do more than a job in midfield as he showed on Saturday."
Saints will be without Jon Stevenson, Paul Bruce, Jomo Faal-Thomas and Craig Vargas who are all suspended for the trip to Eastleigh. Castle is looking to further strengthen before the match. He said: "We hope to have one or two more coming in before Saturday. We are looking to bolster the squad and also have a few lads coming back from injury and hopefully they will be back within a week or two.
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"I am concerned about the suspensions. Paul Bruce is our most experienced player and the lads look up to him. It is a major blow to lose him for five games, make no bones about it. Hopefully, with a couple of additions and a couple of people coming back, we will cope."
Star defender Hasim Deen is expected return to the squad after missing the trip to Havant as his girlfriend gave birth in the early hours of Saturday morning. Deen could replace Faal-Thomas at right back or occupy a midfield role alongside Cracknell and fellow new-boy Quilter.
Former AFC Wimbledon striker Richard Butler, who signed a contract until the end of the 2008/09 season with Saints, has asked for a transfer. Daniel Chillingworth has returned to Cambridge United following the end of his unsuccessful loan spell at Clarence Park.