WHEN Ben Strevens lost his opening game as Eastleigh caretaker boss at home to Aldershot Town in mid-October, he remained adamant he was the right man for the job.

Almost four months later the club’s decision to entrust the reins to the rookie manager has paid dividends with the Spitfires winning seven and drawing five of his next 15 league games at the helm.

And as Strevens prepares for a revenge mission at Aldershot’s Recreation Ground on Saturday (3pm), he reckons a similar set of results at the business end of the season should carry Eastleigh into the promised land of the Vanarama National League play-offs.

“Aldershot was my first game in caretaker charge, we lost 2-1 and it was hard to take,” he recalled.

“But a lot’s happened since then and the next 15 league games have gone by really quickly.

“It was never going to be easy, but even with the losses at Wrexham, Ebbsfleet and Solihull, we know that if we can get the same points from our final 15 games we should be in the play-offs.

“Obviously it’ll be tough (to repeat) because we’ve been on a really good run, but we need to do the same again.

“If we beat Aldershot, we’d go past the 50-point mark, so that’s the first target and then we’d take it from there.

“We’ve got nearly as good a points tally as we had in the whole of last season (when Eastleigh finished 14th on 56 points), so that’d be the next target.”

Aldershot are labouring third to bottom of the table, but Strevens reckons they are better than their position suggests.

“Credit to them, they played well at our place and I expect them to continue the way they do, playing some real good football," he said.

"They were were unlucky to lose 2-0 against Chesterfield recently and did really well at Dagenham & Redbridge (a 1-1 draw).”

Despite another FA Trophy-enforced two-week break from action, Eastleigh’s 15-goal top scorer Paul McCallum is still battling a troublesome groin problem.

“He’s missed training, but he did a lot of work with Cooky the physio (Andy Cook) on Tuesday and we’re hoping he’ll be able to join in again towards the end of the week,” said Strevens.

“We’ve been able to give him a good bit of rest and he’s had a jab in the groin which should hopefully help him.”

Discussing the latest lull in fixtures, Strevens said: “I don’t mind one break, but we’ve had two close together - and we may get a third if Salford get through in the Trophy (after a midweek draw with Maidstone). But it’s our own fault for not doing as well in the Trophy as we’d have liked.

“Because of the weather we’ve had to train on the 3G. Some players are fine on it but, for others, it’s not great for their bodies and they get pains in their backs, knees, ankles etc., so we’ve not always had the full squad training together.”

Eastleigh’s new signing, defender Shaun Hobson on loan from AFC Bournemouth, is not yet ready to join the group as he regains match fitness with his parent club.

Aldershot also have a new defensive recruit in Rollin Menayese, a 6ft 3in loanee from Bristol Rovers.