A CHINK of light has appeared at the end of Eastleigh’s long, dark injury tunnel.

Several key absentees are well on the road to fitness – including centre-back and former skipper Ryan Cresswell who has been sidelined with knee trouble for almost a year.

Having already done some running, former Northampton man Cresswell joined in contact work for the first time in training today, as did right-back Gavin Hoyte, out since mid-August with hamstring trouble.

Captain Sam Togwell (thigh) and striker Paul McCallum also joined in part of the session and manager Richard Hill, whose National League side face a tea-time kick-off at Wrexham on Saturday (5.30pm, BT Sport), said: “Hopefully we’ll have most people available in the next couple of weeks.

“These are important players to have in the squad and it really lifted the mood to have them back training. It was a breath of fresh air. You wouldn’t have thought they'd lost a game of football the other night.”

While Hill was loath to use injuries as excuse for Tuesday’s 1-0 reverse at Boreham Wood, it’s fair to say they didn’t help.

By the manager’s own admission, Eastleigh “did not play particularly well and looked a bit disjointed” first half, but sending on player/coach Ben Strevens in a second-half reshuffle improved things massively ... until Wood's Bruno Andrade landed the 78th-minute killer blow.

“To be able to change our shape, I had to put the first-team coach on,” said Hill. “We don’t even have to ability to go to three centre-halves because there’s no one to play the right wing-back role.

“For half-hour second half I felt we just shaded it. We played with better tempo and looked a bit more organised. But we didn’t create the clear-cut chances we needed and then got punished for defending a cross poorly.

“It concerns me is that in a couple of games when we’ve gone a goal down, we've finished like a wet balloon. We've just faded out with a whimper.

“But when you’re on the bones of your backside injury-wise, training’s not as intense as usual because you can’t afford to lose anyone else.

“But there’s light at the end of the tunnel now and I do envisage we will get better.”

Wrexham are seven points better off than 18th-placed Eastleigh in sixth. They comfortably boast the division's best defensive record with seven goals conceded, but have scored just 11 in 14 games.

“The league’s very strange,” said Hill. “It’s just waiting for one team to go and take hold of it – and that could be anyone.

“We need to improve in the final third and be stronger when we have to chase a game, but I think we’ll get better – and it’s my job to make sure we do.

"We have to go to Wrexham on Saturday and try and get something. It's on the telly and we want to go there and do ourselves proud."

Giant defender Reda Johnson still has hamstring trouble and left-back Michael Green was due more tests on a foot injury yesterday. “Greener’s willing to play in pain, but I’d rather get to the bottom of the problem,” said Hill.