RICHARD Hill ruefully surveyed his growing injury list and declared: “In the last two-and-half years there has never been a better time to play Eastleigh.”

The sixth-placed Spitfires hit the road to Greater Manchester tomorrow (Tuesday) looking to flush two straight Vanarama Conference National defeats out of their system against Altrincham.

But there will be some notable absentees from the squad in the wake of Saturday’s crippling 2-1 home defeat by Gateshead.

On-loan Portsmouth keeper Michael Poke is out for the foreseeable future with a shoulder injury sustained in trying to prevent the Heed’s first goal, while midfielder Ben Strevens has been hit with a three-match ban after being red-carded following an incident in the tunnel at half-time.

To deepen Hill’s headache, skipper Paul Reid, who has been playing on with a deep gouge above his ankle, now has an infection in the wound and has begun a course of antibiotics. If those don’t work, he may need hospital treatment.

Also definitely out is midfielder Andy Drury whose new baby girl arrived over the weekend, but he is still in discomfort from a tweaked groin picked up in training.

Reid’s central defensive partner Jamie Turley is doubtful with a shin muscle problem that saw him subbed after 45 minutes on Saturday, as is ex-Saints left-back Dan Harding who lasted only 20 minutes before succumbing to a sickness bug.

With first-choice goalkeeper Ross Flitney still at least three weeks away from fitness, his young understudy Lewis Noice is due to play tomorrow and left-back Michael Green may fill in at centre-half.

“There’s also the option of a loan player, but I’m not prepared to go into the loan market just to fulfil a fixture,” said Hill. “I’d rather take a bit more time and get the right player.

“We’ll go to Altrincham and try and win the game, but it may mean a couple of players who are only 50 per cent fit sharing and playing half a game each.

“We're down to the bare bones.”

Assistant manager Chris Todd will be on the bench and youngsters Tony Lee and Jack Alexander may also get the call.