In the spotlight: Eastleigh

Fact File

Full Name: Eastleigh Football Club

Year Formed: 1946

Nickname: The Spitfires

Stadium: Silverlake Stadium

Capacity: 5,192

2021/22 Finish: 19th in the National League

Review of the 2021/22 season

Eastleigh struggled off the starting blocks with just three wins from their first ten games. A better run of form over the next set of ten games looked to set the Spitfires up for a charge for one of the play-off places in the second half of the season. From the turn of the year, though, Ben Strevens oversaw another change of fortunes. He was sacked at the end of January – four days before their 1-0 home defeat to Chesterfield. Lee Bradbury couldn’t help Eastleigh discover a good run of results and they limped to the end of the season. A dramatic 4-4 draw against Grimsby Town on the final day secured a 19th place finish, a comfortable 12 points above relegated King’s Lynn Town.

Manager – Lee Bradbury

Lee Bradbury made his name mostly in the south of England, becoming a fans’ favourite at Portsmouth and Bournemouth. Upon his retirement in 2011, he became manager of the Cherries and spent just under 18 months at Dean’s Court. The former striker wasn’t out of the game for long as he joined Havant & Waterlooville later that year. Bradbury won the Isthmian Premier League and the National League South during his tenure; however, he tendered his resignation after the Hawks were relegated from the fifth tier in 2019. The 48-year-old had spells at Eastbourne Borough and Crawley Town (as assistant manager) before being appointed as Eastleigh manager in February 2022. Bradbury is looking ahead to his first full season in charge at the Silverlake Stadium.

Lee Bradbury

Star Player – Charlie Carter

Charlie Carter is a name very familiar to Chesterfield fans. He started his career at Woking and made the step up and signed for the Blues in 2018. He wowed the Spireites faithful but struggled with injuries as he racked up four goals in 20 appearances. A move to the Football League and Stevenage soon followed, but unfortunately problems with injuries followed him to the Lamex Stadium. The midfielder scored ten times in 80 games before he left Boro at the end of the 2021/22 season. This summer, Carter moved back to the National League and joined up with Eastleigh.

Charlie Carter

Overall Head-to-head Record

P8   W5   D1   L2

Chesterfield have had the better of the head-to-heads against Eastleigh since the two sides first met in 2018. Last season, the Spireites came away with the double against the Spitfires. Kabongo Tshimanga’s goal separated the two sides at the Technique Stadium. A closely fought game at the Silverlake Stadium was decided when Curtis Weston’s late 25-yard volley sent the away fans into raptures.

Played for both – Tom Whelan

Like Charlie Carter, Tom Whelan is someone that both sets of fans will be very accustomed to. The midfielder first joined Chesterfield in December 2020 after showing impressive performances for Eastleigh. He was big part of the side that reached the National League play-offs that season. He scored five times in 28 appearances but joined Eastleigh in the summer of 2021. Whelan endeared himself with the fans at the Silverlake Stadium, playing in all but one game before returning for a second spell in north Derbyshire. Once again, the 25-year-old was part of the Chesterfield team that reached the play-off semi-finals.