Slough Town v Eastleigh, Arbour Park, Slough, Tuesday 9th July - kick-off 19h45
Rebels opponents in this opening pre-season friendly, Eastleigh (the Spitfires), have played at level 5 during the last five seasons. Last season they finished in 7th place, thereby gaining a place in the promotion play-offs to the Football League.
Their league record being: P 46 Home W11 D5 L7 GF28 GA25: Away W11 D3 L9 GF34 GA38 - Points 74
Paul McCallum, the second highest scorer in the division, netted 25 league goals. He has now signed to play for Solihull Moors this term.
In the play-offs they had a fine 0 - 1 away success , after extra time, against Wrexham , before succumbing to Salford City in the semi-final - losing the tie 3 - 4 in a penalty shoot-out, after drawing the match 1 - 1. Salford City going on to gain promotion to the Football League.
Despite their fine league form last term, they performed poorly in the two major cup competitions. In the F.A. Cup they were knocked out in the 4th round qualifying, beaten 0 - 1 at home by National South team Hampton and Richmond Borough.
Another National South team, Hemel Hempstead Town knocked them out of the F. A Trophy. Spitfires losing 2 - 1, away, in the 1st round proper.
National League 'Team of the Season' player, defender Josh Hare, has just left the club, signing for EFL One team Bristol Rovers;
Eastleigh signings include central defender Rob Atkinson, who played on loan for Braintree Town last season; Joe Partington, ex club captain, who re-joins the club from Bristol Rovers; midfielder Jack Payne who played a few matches for the club last season whilst on loan, joins from Ebbsfleet United; young winger Sam Smart who has arrived from Basingstoke Town and striker Scott Rendell, released at the end of last season by Aldershot Town. Their latest signing is Polish keeper Max Stryjek who has appeared in his country's U-17, U-18 and U-19 teams as well as being called up for the U-21 team in 2017.
Last Saturday, 6th July, they opened their pre-season drawing 1 -1 away to Blackfield & Langley.
Currently the bookies are showing Eastleigh as a mid-table promotion hopeful. Their opening league fixture will be at home against relegated Notts. County
I think that the teams have only met in the Isthmian Premier league season 2004/5 when Eastleigh gained promotion finishing 3rd, with Rebels finishing in mid-table, 13th. While Slough Town lost the home fixture 1 - 4, they surprised their high-flying opponents in the return fixture, winning 0 - 4 in Hampshire, with Alex Haddow netting a hat-trick.