My final interview this week comes from Eastleigh FC boss Ben Strevens reflecting on the start to the season for the Hampshire club:
TK: An excellent start to the season after seven games, are you placed where you expected to be so far?
BS: I honestly didn’t know what to expect at the start of the season as pre-season seemed a strange time. We are happy with our points total, but we realise it’s early days. Hopefully, we will keep on improving as the season progresses.
TK: Summer recruitment seems to have gone well, how have the new players settled in?
BS: Yeah, they have settled in really well, we purposely recruited more youthful players with the hope of helping them improve themselves. They have added to the players we managed to keep and that was just as important as the new guys coming in.
TK: Although it is still very early in the season in terms of games played, are there one or two sides that have surprised you with their results?
BS: Wealdstone have started really well after their promotion from the National South. I am surprised by some of the teams towards the lower part of the table, but as you say it’s still really early to judge those teams.
TK: Do you think that the stop start scenario for some teams has played a part in where they are in the current table?
BS: I certainly don’t think it helps, but it will be the case for all of us over the course of the season, quite sure of that. We now go two weeks without a competitive game which isn’t ideal either.
TK: How challenging has it been to get the players in the right frame of mind for playing in empty stadiums?
BS: That’s been fine to be honest, I have a good group that are hungry to win and do well. We would all love fans back in the grounds but the games still matter and points are there to be won.
I am really hoping like everyone else that in the new year the fans will be back watching us live.
TK: Although the club have received grants and the Lottery bail-out to help with no income, was there any effect if any on your playing budget?
BS: Yes, we reduced things to make sure we were ready for all circumstances. But at the same time that also fitted with the profile of the player we were trying to attract to the club.
TK: If for example you felt you needed an extra player or two to keep momentum going, would these current circumstances restrict that happening or be favourable to you?
BS: We are quite happy with where we are squad wise for now. We managed to add Ryan Hill from Hampton & Richmond and Tom Blair from Dorchester a few weeks back, but if I really needed someone or had an injury to a key player I’m sure the club would back me.
TK: Finally, we touched on it earlier, how important is it that we see fans back in stadiums in 2021?
BS: I really hope they are the fans are the lifeblood of every football club. Every team is missing them being there to see the action, hopefully in the new year they will be back in and I really can’t wait for that!