EASTLEIGH’S rapidly rising star Luke Coulson is putting club before country. The Spitfires’ 22-year-old league top scorer will sacrifice his place in the England C squad in order to play in Tuesday’s FA Cup first round replay at Swindon Town.

Coulson’s phenomenal form for Eastleigh was recognised last month when he was called up for England C’s International Challenge Trophy group match in Tallinn, Estonia.

But Swindon’s equaliser at the Silverlake last Friday threw up a dilemma for the St Helens-born wideman as the County Ground replay falls on the same night.

Many fans assumed Coulson would take the dream chance to travel with England, having already been away on a three-day training camp at Warwick University with Paul Fairclough’s non-League Three Lions.

But chairman Stewart Donald took to the fans’ forum today to announce: “Coulson will be playing against Swindon – he wants to play in the FA Cup.”

Eastleigh boss Ronnie Moore said: “It’s fantastic he wants to stay and play.

“At the end of the day, we pay his wages, but this was Luke’s decision and I’m sure the England set-up understand.

“We have great faith in Luke and he will get other opportunities, there’s no doubt about that.

“He’d love to play for England. The last thing he wanted – and we wanted – was a replay at Swindon. For the next three weeks it’s all Tuesday-Saturday for us.”

With tough away assignments beckoning at Gateshead and Aldershot after the Swindon game, it’s imperative for the promotion hungry Spitfires that they win Saturday's (3pm)home clash against struggling York City in the National League.

The Minstermen are without a win in 12 league and cup games and sit 20th in the table.

Eastleigh, four points off the play-offs in eighth, have captain Ryan Cresswell and vice-captain Joe Partington back available after a one-match ban. Cresswell, though, is still struggling with a knee injury he picked up at Barrow.

Winger Jake Howells has also missed training with a knock, which could open the door for new loan signing Alefe Santos from Derby County.

Moore, meanwhile, will be on tenterhooks with no fewer than three players – Reda Johnson, James Constable and Jason Taylor – just one booking away from suspension.

“They’ve got six games to get through, 'til the end of November, and they’ve just got to be professional,” said the boss. “They know they can’t put a foot wrong.”

York have signed experienced defender Danny Holmes from National League North table-toppers AFC Fylde. He’s a player Moore knows well, having handed him his debut at Tranmere.

“I also had their goalkeeper Scott Flinders at Hartlepool and the lad Scott Fenwick up top. York have got decent lads, they just haven’t had the results," said the Spitfires boss.

“We’ll show them respect, but it’s about what we do. It’s important that, as a unit, the players are all at it.”