Match Preview | Cards looking overcome Spitfires challenge and continue fine form

Glen Harrington
4:04pm, Fri 28th Oct 2022
Woking vs Eastleigh
Vanarama National League
Saturday 29th October 2022

Woking will be aiming to make it four games without defeat in all competitions when they host Eastleigh in National League action at the Laithwaite Community Stadium.

The in-form Cards have lost just one of their last seven games but will be looking to get the better of the recent history books when they take on Eastleigh, having failed to beat the Spitfires in any of the last seven meetings between the two clubs. Lee Bradbury’s side have drawn four and won three of those games, including both of last season’s matches, and are on an unbeaten run against the Cards dating back to August 2017. But manager Darren Sarll will be confident of putting that right after seeing his team’s fighting spirit on display on Tuesday, as they twice came from behind to claim a 3-3 draw in an entertaining game with Dorking Wanderers.

Sarll has confirmed that several players face late fitness tests for Saturday’s match – Kyran Lofthouse (concussion), Reece Grego-Cox (hamstring), Luke Wilkinson (calf), and Jack Roles (back), are all a doubt, but none of them are expected to face a prolonged spell on the sidelines. Midfielder Jermaine Anderson also misses out after picking up a fifth yellow card of the season on Tuesday. James Daly, Jim Kellermann, and Dan Moss are all one booking away from a suspension.

Opposition Watch

Eastleigh are approaching a decade in the National League and are currently in their ninth consecutive season in the fifth tier following promotion in 2014. Last season was, in terms of league position, their worst in that period – a 19th place finish, albeit a comfortable 12 points clear of relegation.

Former Bournemouth, Havant & Waterlooville and Eastbourne Borough manager Bradbury joined the club in February after spending three years as assistant manager at Crawley Town and, like his Woking counterpart, oversaw a huge overhaul in the club’s squad this summer with 12 new players arriving and the same number going the other way.

There were some surprises in the Spitfires’ summer business, including the departures of midfielders Cav Miley and Harry Pritchard to Southend United and Barnet respectively, whilst veterans such as Danny Hollands and Tyrone Barnett also moved on. A much younger crop of players has now been brought in, including defenders George Langston (19), Brennan Camp (21), and Corey Panter (21), all from Championship clubs. They have also added EFL experience in the shape of centre-back Christian Maghoma (Gillingham), striker Tristan Abrahams (Carlisle), and former Woking midfielder Charlie Carter (Stevenage).

Results have been promising, if not spectacular, with 22 points accrued from their 15 games, placing them 11th – but only two points adrift of the Cards and the top seven. So far in October they have won two, drawn two, and lost one in the league – whilst also claiming at impressive 3-1 away win over Dorking in the FA Cup. Last time out they won 1-0 at home to strugglers Torquay. Their biggest issue this season has been a lack of goals – their total of 16 is the lowest in the top-half of the table and lower than two of the bottom four. But striker Danny Whitehall, with five this season, remains one to watch.

Recent Meetings

• Woking 1-2 Eastleigh – 7th May 2022, National League (Roles)
• Eastleigh 3-2 Woking – 25th September 2021, National League (Campbell 2)
• Eastleigh 0-0 Woking – 10th April 2021, National League
• Woking 0-0 Eastleigh – 28th December 2020, National League
• Eastleigh 2-0 Woking – 1st February 2020, National League


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