BEN Wright has parted company with Eastleigh – just days before the biggest match in their history.

The 26-year-old striker, who played a key role in getting the Spitfires over the line in the Conference South title race last season, yesterday joined Havant & Waterlooville for an undisclosed fee.

Had Wright stayed, he would almost certainly have featured on the bench on Sunday when Eastleigh make history with their first-ever appearance in the FA Cup second round at Southport.

But, as manager Richard Hill explained, Wright had grown tired of warming the bench and has dropped back down a division to get regular football.

“Ben was getting a bit frustrated at not getting more game time,” said the boss.

“We’d had interest in him from four Conference South clubs over the past six weeks and, as I always do with players, I kept him informed.

“He chose to speak to Havant and he obviously liked what they had to say.”

Hill, though, was at pains to stress that, had those talks with Havant fallen through, he would happily have kept Wright in the fold - albeit that he would still have been behind James Constable, Jack Midson and Craig McAllister in the frontline pecking order.

After his successful spell on loan from Salisbury City at the back end of last season, Wright signed permanently for the Spitfires in July.

“I told Ben no lies in the summer and said that if we were losing a game and we needed a goal I would put him on the pitch or if we were winning a game comfortably,” said Hill.

“And, to be fair to Ben, he has come on and changed games on more than one occasion.

“He’s a popular figure who’s scored some important goals for the club and I didn’t put him in a position where he had to leave. It was his decision to go.

“I believe he’s signed an 18-month contract with Havant, so he’s come out of it pretty well. But if he’d chosen not to go there, I’d have had no problem with him staying.

“In my opinion the goals Ben scored for us last season meant we got to the finish line in the (Conference South) championship race sooner than we would have done and he’s conducted himself great during his time here.

“It’s not like we’ve pushed him out.”

With defender Paul Reid returning from a one-match ban, Eastleigh have a full squad to choose from.

Predictably there is a lot of attention surrounding the game, but Hill said: “We’re not preparing for it differently. We’re travelling up tomorrow and the only change is that we’re training today because the game’s on Sunday.”