EASTLEIGH boss Richard Hill does not view Saturday's FA Cup fourth qualifying round visit of Hereford as a distraction.

Quite the opposite in fact.

Eastleigh's recent Cup pedigree is such that it could be just the tonic the Spitfires need after back-to-back defeats at Boreham Wood and Wrexham in a so far underwhelming Vanarama National League season.

Two years ago the Spitfires reached the third round proper for the first time in their history, eventually bowing out in a replay at Bolton.

Last term they stylishly triumphed 3-1 in a first round replay at Swindon and then turfed out FC Halifax Town before reaching the end of the road at Brentford.

“Is Saturday's FA Cup game a distraction? No," said Hill.

"We need to start winning football matches, whatever the competition, and in the last two years the FA Cup is where this club has gathered all its momentum," he pointed out.

"Eastleigh have risen to prominence through the Bolton and Swindon games."

Yet it is precisely because of the Spitfires' recent giant-killing antics that Hill will be preaching caution against their lower league visitors.

"It's potentially a banana skin," he warned. "We know we need to be careful because in the last two years Eastleigh have been that banana skin for other clubs.

“Hereford are two leagues below us, just as Eastleigh were two below Swindon. They've got good players, they are going well in their league and they'll bring a good following."

Hereford’s name has been synonymous with the magic of the FA Cup ever since their forerunners, Hereford United, famously beat Newcastle United 2-1 in a third round replay at a muddy Edgar Street in 1972.

These days the newly-formed Bulls ply their trade in the Evo-Stik South Premier, hoping to build on successive promotions from the Midland Premier and Southern One South & West.

Their dangerman is former Didcot goal-getter John Mills who has netted over 40 times in league and cup in each of his last three seasons.

But it was a glorious strike by ex-Cardiff City Academy and Kidderminster Harriers forward Keyon Reffell that fired the Bulls to within two points of the summit in a 1-0 midweek win at Banbury.

They will arrive at the Silverlake Stadium riding on the crest of ten straight league and cup wins.

While two of Eastleigh’s long-term injured, top gun Ben Williamson and right-back Gavin Hoyte, have returned to first-team action, Reda Johnson (hamstring) and Sam Matthews (groin) are some way off fitness.

Saturday is likely to come too soon for Michael Green, Paul McCallum, Sam Togwell and Ryan Cresswell.

"The players trained brilliantly again today with the injured players stood on the touchline watching," reported Hill. "Somehow we need to get what they do in training onto the pitch."