EASTLEIGH have been given a major boost by renewing Sam Matthews’ loan from AFC Bournemouth until the end of the season.

The talented midfielder has made himself a crowd favourite during two stints at the National League club in the last two seasons and manager Andy Hessenthaler is delighted he is staying on board for a third.

“We’re over the moon, obviously,” he said. “He’s been terrific – we played him in a slightly different role on Saturday, just behind the striker, which I think suits him.

“I’m sure Bournemouth have seen how he’s getting on – it’s great for his development here and they’re happy for him to stay until the end of the season. He’s a pleasure to work with.”

Matthews, 20, said: “I’m obviously really pleased to extend my loan until the end of the season.

“We’ve had a difficult first half of the season, but in the last few games we’ve picked up a few good results and have the momentum with us now.

“Hopefully we can continue the form we’ve shown and keep pushing on.”

Matthews initially joined the Spitfires in January 2016 and shone during a difficult period for the Spitfires, scoring three goals in 12 appearances.

Since returning to the club in August, he has made a further 21 appearances, scoring twice.

Matthews will not be allowed to face his parent club in the Hampshire Senior Cup quarter-final on January 30 (7pm) at the Silverlake. Competition rules do not permit loan players to feature.