Article by Mark Bravery
Sutton United's fifth spell at the summit of the National League may have been ended by Aldershot's win at Bromley on Tuesday evening, but Paul Doswell's men go into their home game against Eastleigh this Saturday (2 December) in good heart, behind the Shots only on goal difference, and with just one defeat in their last eleven league games.
Whatever Saturday's result, this fixture will complete a very pleasing first half of United's league campaign.
Sutton have already played away at the Hampshire club this season, losing 1-0 on a damp August evening. Last season the home encounter finished 1-1, a Matt Tubbs header for Sutton equalising an earlier headed goal from the visitors' Tyler Garrett.
Sutton's injury list is now shortening, but on Saturday they are expected again to be without midfielder Craig Eastmond (ankle) and full-back Aswad Thomas (leg). Midfielder Kenny Davis may not start after being substituted in last Saturday's 2-0 win at Guiseley with a slight hamstring strain. Forward Tommy Wright and defender Louis John both missed the Guiseley game, but returned to action in Tuesday's 2-1 Surrey Senior Cup victory over Redhill, while centre-back Dean Beckwith should also be fit again.
Eastleigh have had a rather disappointing season so far, and currently stand 18th in the table, with no win in their last five games. Last weekend they drew 3-3 at Halfax, a match in which each side had a goalkeeper sent off, meaning that the Spitfires' Ross Flitney will be suspended this Saturday. Their other senior custodian, Graham Stack, has been recovering from a shoulder injury, so manager Richard Hill may be forced to draft in a keeper on loan. Leading scorer Ben Williamson, who netted the goal against Sutton in August, is also doubtful for Saturday's match after limping off in the first half at Halifax.
The visiting squad is likely to include striker Craig McAllister, who returned to Eastleigh last season after a spell with Sutton, though it remains to be seen whether Bradley Hudson-Odoi, now on loan at Eastleigh from United, will be allowed to play against his parent club. Another winger, Ross Stearn, has moved in the opposite direction, and is is set to face the club from which he rejoined Sutton two weeks ago.