As he sat at home, watching his side’s 1-1 draw with Bolton Wanderers for a third time, Eastleigh boss Chris Todd remained in a positive mood.
The Spitfires came within two minutes of producing the greatest giant-killing in their history, with Dorian Dervite’s first half own goal set to hand the Vanarama National League side an outright place in the Fourth Round draw.
However, Wanderers midfielder Darren Pratley scored a late equaliser to take the tie back to the Macron Stadium.
And despite the odds being stacked against his side, Todd is confident that they can go into the game with a positive outlook, a one that he thinks will produce a result.
“Of course we think we can win the replay, we have shown we can match them. I am a positive guy and I have positive players so we will be going up to Bolton with that mindset.
We are capable of winning, we will be positive and we are all pushing in the right direction.
We will be looking forward to it more than they will and we have no fear of playing up there. We have shown what we can achieve and we will go with a game plan, maybe a different one from the first game”
Todd also shrugged off suggestions that he should be disappointed with the draw, admitting that he would have “snapped your hands off” if he was offered a draw ahead of the game.
“We are very happy with the draw. I have watched it a couple of times and of course we could have won the game, we know that.
But if someone had said to me on Saturday morning you can have a draw and a replay back at Bolton, would I have taken it? Of course! I would have snapped your hands off”
“A minor blip” was how Todd described Pratley’s late leveller for Wanderers.
The former Swansea City midfielder bundled a loose ball over the line as the Spitfires struggled to cope with a low corner kick from the right.
Despite conceding a late equaliser Todd revealed he had mixed feelings as the goal was scored.
“It was a mixed set of feelings.
I was disappointed, as were the players. To put in that effort and that performance, which was top drawer, was incredible and to lose a goal in the last two minutes was a minor blip and we just have to get on with it.
We will take the positives into the replay because we can still progress”
There was plenty for the Spitfires boss to enthuse over during the ninety minutes.
The South Coast side had some golden chances to get, what Todd believes, would have been a killer second goal.
And he agreed with Wanderers boss Neil Lennon(pictured right), who commented post-match that his side were fortunate to avoid a giant-killing.
Todd said “We matched all over the park and Neil Lennon said that in his post-match interview.
Regardless of their goal we had a lot of chances to go two goals up, which in hindsight might have killed the game off.
We did match Bolton and we are optimistic about to doing it all again at Bolton”
With the replay a week away, attention now turns to Monday evening’s FA Cup Fourth Round draw.
The two sides will find out what prize awaits the eventual winner of the tie but Todd is happy to focus on getting through, rather than who his side could face should they succeed.
“It’s difficult isn’t it? We would love a big tie in the Fourth Round but we are solely focused on the replay against Bolton, which is going to be tough.
Obviously we will keep an eye on the draw but our focus must remain on getting past Bolton”
Interview: Mark Carruthers