EASTLEIGH’S injury jinx has struck again with defensive colossus Reda Johnson facing three weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring problem.

Having limped out of Tuesday’s 2-2 National League draw at home to Boreham Wood, the former Coventry City powerhouse not only misses Saturday’s (1pm) return league fixture at Meadow Park but will leave a giant 6ft 3in hole in the side for the FA Cup third round tie at Brentford on January 7.

With Johnson having suffered a season-long hamstring injury at Coventry, Eastleigh cannot afford to take any risks with the big man.

“It’s a disappointment to lose him because he’s been very good since I’ve been here,” said manager Martin Allen.

“But we’ve got plenty of other centre-backs ready to stake their claim and it gives someone else the chance to come in do their stuff.”

Johnson joins long-term absentees Ryan Cresswell, Ryan Clarke, Jake Howells and Jason Taylor on the casualty list, while skipper Joe Partington still has two games to serve of a three-match suspension.

On the plus side, Wolves loanee defender/midfielder Hakeem Odoffin has completed a one-match ban and both left-back Michael Green and goalkeeper Ryan Huddart could be vying for a New Year's Eve start.

Arsenal youngster Huddart was rested on Tuesday after missing training with a sore knee, while Green, an unused sub, was getting over a heavy cold.

In their absence 19-year-old rookie ’keeper Mark Childs excelled in the live BT Sport spotlight, turning in a man-of-the-match debut, while new Doncaster Rovers loan man Tyler Garratt, 20, slotted in nicely at left-back.

“Tyler’s only a young lad and he drove down on Christmas Day and stayed in a hotel on his own,” said Allen.

“He was recommended to me earlier in the season. He’s a good, young player with pace and energy. (Doncaster boss) Darren Ferguson's done us a favour there.

“Young Mark Childs impressed me in training with his positive attitude and demeanour and it was good to see a 19-year-old strutting his stuff in a big game on TV. It was a precaution to rest Ryan (Huddart) and we’ll see how he in the morning (Friday).”

For all Childs’ heroics, Eastleigh couldn’t quite hang onto the three points on Tuesday as they were heartbreakingly undone by sub Danny Woodards’ 95th-minute equaliser. It leaves them 13th, ten points off play-off pace.

“I’m disappointed for the players that we didn’t manage to get the win to take us to the edge of those play-offs,” said Allen.

“Because of Boreham Wood’s pace up front, they were difficult to play against.

“There were some good performances from some of our players. With others, it’s fair to say there has to be an improvement, so I suppose I will look to make some changes.”

Allen confirmed there had been “some interest” in Eastleigh’s transfer-listed duo Ryan Bird and Ayo Obileye, but said: “At the moment nothing’s been agreed. We’ve got to get the Brentford game out of the way first.”