Eastleigh have a very experienced squad, with all but one of the fourteen players they used in midweek having played in the Football League, the majority having joined the Spitfires directly from a higher level. They look like an experienced group which can scrap for a result, but they have lost the lead a surprising five times this season: in comparison, Wrexham have lost a lead once in their last nine games.
They line up in a 4-4-2 which allows them to vary their approach. They are quite happy passing the ball through midfield, and goalkeeper Ross Flitney likes to look for the early throw to his full backs, but in Chris Zebroski they have a target man up who can fight for long straight balls.
By using James Constable on the right side of midfield, Eastleigh give themselves a variety of choices when they look to go long. The experienced target man’s presence on the flank opens up the possibility to hit early diagonals; he can use his height to knock the ball down into the box, and even if he doesn’t win the aerial battle, his strength makes it difficult for the full back to get distance on his header, creating a loose ball for Eastleigh to fight for deep into the opposing half.
Constable will also be a danger when the ball is on the left wing, as he will naturally attack the far post and add to Zebroski’s threat. Despite being predominantly right footed, left back Sam Wood can deliver crosses from overlaps on the left, and ahead of him Mark Yeates, the left-sided midfielder, likes to run at defenders and is comfortable crossing on his left foot. He is also keen to shoot with either foot, and takes right-footed set pieces. Yeates will shoot if given the opportunity from set pieces, but if he delivers into the box, big centre back Callum Howe is a regular target.
Constable tends to be quite predictable when the ball is at his feet, as he favours cutting in on his left foot. His right-footed crosses tend to be dragged back rather than swung into the box.
Apart from Zebroski and Constable, Eastleigh have another big, experienced target man in Craig McAllister, who came off the bench on Tuesday.
Garry McSheffrey plays off Zebroski, and is a lively presence, working hard when he doesn’t have the ball and pressing to win it back in the opposing half.
Ayo Olileye is a very strongly-built right back who looks to go beyond Constable on the flank and is also a physical presence in the box for corners. He also possesses a long throw.
Defensively, Eastleigh conceded a lot of headed chances on Tuesday, both from crosses and set pieces, and although this might be misleading as Borehamwood are a direct side, packed with height, who look to create chances in that manner, they have looked quite vulnerable in the air in other matches. Hartlepool certainly seemed to look to get at them down the flanks.
At Borehamwood, the pace of Bruno Andrade and Dan Holman troubled them at times: Holman outpaced the centre backs to get behind them for a one-on-one in the first half, and Andrade’s ability to break down the left often forced the Eastleigh back line to drop off, allowing space in the hole for Andrade to pull the ball back into shooting positions. Perhaps as a consequence, they seem to concede a disproportionate amount of goals from shots in the area around the D, often from standing off and allowing time for a shot.