ALLEN LEAVES BE­HIND HIS CHAMPS

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By An­drew God­dard

NEW Eastleigh man­ager Martin Allen, pic­tured

inset, has ad­mit­ted it was a wrench to leave Bar­net – be­cause of the bond he had with his play­ers.

In his fourth spell as Bees boss, Allen guided the club to the Con­fer­ence ti­tle in 2014-15 and es­tab­lished them back in League Two.

He left with the club ly­ing eighth in the ta­ble, just out­side the play-off places on goal dif­fer­ence.

“We had good char­ac­ters, good per­son­al­i­ties and a fan­tas­tic work ethic, unity and team spirit,” said the 51-year-old. “We didn’t have many play­ers for my last home game, only 15 out­field play­ers and two goalies. But we had ca­ma­raderie, unity and hon­esty – val­ues that were all put in place from day one.

“That is pow­er­ful and only time will tell if we can do that with this group (at Eastleigh).”

Allen has brought No 2 James Rus­sell with him and has also been re­united with Bondz N’Gala less than a fort­night af­ter Eastleigh bought the de­fender for a club record £60,000.

“Bondz is a very spe­cial per­son to me, he’s one of my cham­pi­ons,” he said. “I’m very close to my play­ers and ob­vi­ously didn’t want to sell Bondz, but the of­fer was too high to turn down so Bondz moved on.

“So to see him back here to­day... he’s a re­ally good player and a re­ally good sign­ing.”

Al­though Eastleigh were 14 points be­hind Na­tional League lead­ers Lin­coln head­ing into the week­end, Allen be­lieves they can still claim the ti­tle. “We’ll see if the teams at the top now can han­dle the pres­sure be­cause it’s hard be­ing at the top. My Bar­net team dealt with it be­cause we were top of the league from the first game till the last game. “We’ve got to come from be­hind but we will put a run to­gether and these play­ers will chal­lenge, there’s no doubt about that.” Bar­net’s FA Cup exit at Shrews­bury last month meant Allen was look­ing for­ward to a rare week­end off be­fore Eastleigh con­tacted him within 24 hours of Ron­nie Moore’s shock exit.

“It was to­tally out of the blue,” he said. “I was all set for a quiet week­end with plans to see the fam­ily, walk the dogs and tidy up the gar­den for the win­ter and here we are now, full-on ready for the FA Cup (against FC Hal­i­fax to­day).”

De­vel­op­ment team coach Rossi Eames and academy man­ager Henry New­man have been placed in tem­po­rary charge by the Bees.

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