BOSS Ben Strevens believes promotion to League Two is his best chance of keeping his Eastleigh squad together.

With just over a week of the regular season remaining, the Spitfires have three games left to cement their place in the National League play-offs, starting at Strevens’ old club Dagenham & Redbridge tomorrow (Good Friday, 3pm).

If the Stoneham Lane outfit stay in their current position of seventh or climb a place to sixth, they will be away to either the fourth or fifth-placed side (currently Wrexham or AFC Fylde) in the play-off qualifier.

Win that and another away test would beckon at the second or third-placed club (currently Salford City or Solihull Moors) to decide who reaches the Vanarama Big Day Out at Wembley on Saturday, May 11.

With Eastleigh currently four points clear of eighth-placed Ebbsfleet, they head into the Easter weekend knowing two wins will get them over the line.

It’s a hugely significant time for the Spitfires, not least because the majority of the squad – including Strevens and his coaching staff – are out of contract at the end of the season and big decisions must be made depending on where the club are heading in 2019/20.

“I’m just trying to get results on the pitch, but there’s more stuff going on off the pitch that's out of my control,” said Strevens.

“This time last year we knew we weren’t going to get relegated or get into the play-offs so we could start having conversations with people (about next season).

“This time it’s different and the club are trying get two budgets worked out – one for the National League and one for League Two.”

Despite having to survive without the backing of wealthy former chairman/owner Stewart Donald, Eastleigh are confident the money generated from promotion would make League Two football financially viable if they were lucky enough to achieve it.

“We’ve got some contracts that end on the last day of the season – including mine, Jason's (Bristow, assistant) and Rosco's (Ross Flitney, goalkeeper coach) – and others that end through the summer,” said Strevens.

“I’m doing my best to speak to people and reassure the lads and Kenny (Amor, chief executive) and those behind the scenes are trying to give us a competitive budget.

“I’d like to try and keep this group together and my best chance of doing that would be in League Two but, even if we get to the play-offs, there’s still a lot to do.

“The finances we’d get from going up through the play-offs and becoming a Football League club would give us a bigger budget. Without promotion money, finances will be tighter and the budget will be reduced from what it has been.

“It won’t be scarily lower if we stay in the National League, but having a League Two budget would mean I can try hard for the boys who’ve played so well for me.”

Strevens is acutely aware that if Eastleigh don’t go up, players like top scorer Paul McCallum will surely get into the League via an alternative route.

“We’ll try our hardest to keep them together, but Macca’s going to attract interest – he’s scored 25 goals,” said Strevens. “I’d imagine there’d be interest in three or four other players, maybe more. It’s the price you pay for success.”

Skipper Danny Hollands returns from suspension tomorrow and Strevens is hopeful that Reda Johnson, Alex Wynter and Ben Williamson will be available after missing training earlier in the week.

Williamson removed a bloodied sock after last Saturday’s crucial 1-0 win over Gateshead, revealing a deep gash near the ankle which required half a dozen stitches.

Tomorrow will be Strevens' first return to Dagenham as a manager having won the Conference with them as a player under John Still.

"I was only at Dagenham for two-and-a-half years, but I had some real good times there playing in a tight-knit group who are still my friends now,” he said.

“They did us a favour by beating Ebbsfleet (1-0 away) last week, but that shows they’re a good side.”

Eastleigh host their last home game against Maidenhead on Easter Monday (3pm).

“It’s a big weekend for all of us, but it’s important not to get too carried away,” cautioned Strevens.

“We’re well aware we need two wins, however we do it, but right now I can’t look beyond Dagenham.”