United begin the festive run of fixtures with a visit to the Silverlake Stadium to play Eastleigh FC.
After the disappointment of United 2-0 defeat to Maidstone in the FA Trophy, comes renewed enthusiasm to gain points in the battle to stay in the National League. Eastleigh sit in 18th place in the National League on 29 points.
“We are, at the minute, closing the gap,” said TUFC head coach, Gary Owers.
“The Eastleigh games are massive. You could look at it as a Cup tie, over the two legs. If we can come out on top over two legs we’ll have picked up more points than them. If we pick up more points than Eastleigh then that’s a team above us that we’re closing the gap on.
“The season will go quickly now. It is still a big number of games [left]. If we maintain recent form then I’m more than hopeful [of staying up]. That’s the only thing that I’m focusing on, and that’s the only think that I have been focusing on since I got here. The next bit that we really have to focus on is trying to find that bit of quality that will really make a difference.”
Eastleigh have had a change of manager in the last week. Assistant manager Andy Hessenthaler has taken over with Richard Hill moving upstairs into a Director of Football role.
The Spitfires have two defeats, a draw, and a victory in December so far. Tom Bolarinwa and Tommy Wright scored for Sutton United to kick off a losing start on December 2nd. Eastleigh then shared eight goals with Leyton Orient in a spectacular 4-4 draw at the Silverlake. Ex-Torquay loan player Paul McCallum’s hat-trick wasn’t enough to tip the balance in Eastleigh’s favour. They were then knocked out of the Buildbase FA Trophy in a 2-1 defeat away to Ebbsfleet but Hessenthaler made a winning start to his spell in a 2-1 win over promotion-chasing Dagenham & Redbridge. Ex-Gull Chris Zebroski scored to equalize after Michael Cheek had opened the scoring for the Daggers. He then turned provider for Paul McCallum to clinch three points.
Goalkeeper Vincent Dorel may be involved after joining his wife for the birth of their baby in France. Jazzi Barnum-Bobb starts the first of his three game ban after receiving a straight red card against Maidstone in the FA Trophy. Yan Klukowski and Josh Gowling are unavailable because of injury. Michee Efete will hopefully be available after recovering from a rib injury sustained against Tranmere Rovers. This will be the first game since Josh McQuoid, Rhys Murphy, and Callum Evans returned to their parent clubs after loan spells.
Last season United suffered a 3-0 defeat at the Silverlake. Goals from Jamie Cureton, Andy Drury, and Ryan Bird earned all three points for the Spitfires.
Click here for travel and ticket details for Tuesday’s fixture. The Yellow Army can save by buying tickets in advance and collecting before the match.
Eastleigh FC Vs Torquay United | 26/12/17 | Kick-Off 3pm
The Silverlake Stadium