BEN Stevens is reportedly on his way back to Eastleigh after parting company with Whitehawk.

The 36-year-old midfielder was placed in joint charge of the Hawks when their former Spitfires boss Richard Hill moved to Aston Villa at the end of last month.

He was on the Whitehawk bench for yesterday's 2-2 FA Trophy draw with Weymouth, but a statement released by the Vanarama National League South club last night said: "Whitehawk FC can confirm the departure of joint manager Ben Strevens.

"Ben has received an approach from Eastleigh FC and the club have decided not to stand in his way and block his departure.

"Everyone at The Hawks thanks Ben for his services during his short period at the club.

"Defender Paul Reid (another ex-Eastleigh man) will now step up to become joint manager alongside Alan Payne for the foreseeable future."

Strevens, who is believed to be returning to Eastleigh as player-coach, started this season as right-hand man to former Spitfires boss Chris Todd.

When Todd lost his job in August, Strevens very briefly stepped in as caretaker boss before Ronnie Moore was appointed.

The ex-Dagenham & Redbridge and Wycombe Wanderers man subsequently moved to Whitehawk in September, ending a highly successful three-year spell at Stoneham Lane.

It was all change again at Eastleigh last week when Moore made a shock departure and ex-Barnet boss Martin Allen took the helm of the ambitious National League club.

Strevens' return would help compensate for the loss of Jason Taylor to a hip problem and fellow midfielder Andy Drury, who has joined Ebbsfleet.

With several players injured and others cup-tied for Tuesday's FA Cup second round replay at Halifax, new boss Allen played it safe by sending a largely young, inexperienced squad to Harlow Town yesterday in the FA Trophy first round proper.

They exited the competition 2-0.