Hartlepool United boss Kevin Phillips is prepared to deal with the threat posed by National League's leading scorer

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Hartlepool United boss Kevin Phillips is anticipating a different kind of test from Saturday's goalless draw with Southend as Pools prepare to travel to Eastleigh.

The Pools boss admitted last weekend's stalemate was a "0-0 bore draw" but supporters making the long trip to Hampshire can expect more goalmouth action.

Eastleigh, who are 18th in the National League and on a run of four games without a win, have the league's second-leakiest back line but also boast one of the division's most potent attacks.

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The Spitfires front line includes 30-goal talisman Paul McCallum, who is one of two players to have outscored Mani Dieseruvwe this term, as well as 6'4'' Scott Quigley and the experienced Chris Maguire, who had an ill-fated spell of sorts in the North East two years ago.

Kevin Phillips is confident his side can keep the prolific Paul McCallum quiet on SaturdayKevin Phillips is confident his side can keep the prolific Paul McCallum quiet on Saturday
Kevin Phillips is confident his side can keep the prolific Paul McCallum quiet on Saturday

Despite being managed by a former goalkeeper in Kelvin Davis, who made two appearances on loan at Pools in 1997, Eastleigh have adopted a gung-ho approach this season that should lead to an entertaining game.

And Phillips is expecting an altogether livelier contest than last Saturday's rather lacklustre affair.

"They play with a five at the back and they'll sit in and try to be difficult to break down, but they've got a real threat on the counter," he said.

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"They're very direct and like to hit the big lads up top from set-plays and goal-kicks.

"Quigley flicking on for McCallum is a dangerous combination and we have to be wary of that.

"It's another challenge for us and I feel that if we're at it, and we can move the ball quickly and forwards, then we can hurt them.

"It'll be a different type of game and the pitch looks really good, which should suit us.

"It's about what we do and how we turn up.

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"The preparation has been good and I think we can go there and be bang at it."

Phillips knows all about what it takes to score 30 goals in a single campaign, having achieved the feat in the Premier League with Sunderland, winning the European Golden Shoe in the process, but is confident Pools will be well-prepared to neutralise the threat posed by McCallum.

His side have been much-improved at the back of late and celebrated just a third league clean sheet of the campaign on Saturday and the Pools boss is expecting Tom Parkes and Luke Waterfall to relish the challenge.

He said: "It makes it even more impressive that he's done it in a team that's near the bottom of the league. He's clearly a very good player.

"He's one that we've got to be very, very careful of.

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"The obvious thing is to stop crosses into our box, so there's a big job on for our full-backs.

"We've got two centre-halves who are up to that physical challenge but we know we can't afford to give him even half a chance.

"If we can keep him quiet then we give ourselves a very good chance of winning the football match."

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