EASTLEIGH are itching to get back into action at home to Dover Athletic on Saturday (3pm) after a weather-enforced two-week lay-off.

But while the majority of Vanarama National League sides were left kicking their heels when the Beast from the East swept in, Dover stole a march on their play-off rivals to move sixth in the table.

Thanks to the efforts of their ground staff and supporters they were only club to get a game on last weekend, beating Leyton Orient 1-0.

And, unlike most, they also had a midweek fixture scheduled and cashed in with a 2-0 victory at Chester.

Eastleigh boss Andy Hessenthaler, a former Dover player and manager, said: “Sometimes you think a break is good because players get a rest, but you’d rather be playing games – and more so when you’re winning them, like Dover are.

"They'll come here confident and that doesn’t make it any easier for us on Saturday, but it’s a game we’re looking forward to.”

The Spitfires themselves had been hopeful of a play-off push after a nine-game unbeaten league run, but a paltry February return of just two from a possible 15 points makes that unlikely.

Even so, the club’s long-term ambition remains sky high and Hessenthaler is targeting another lengthy, unbeaten sequence.

“We’ve got ten games to go and there’s still a lot to play for,” he said. “We’ve got a tough run-in, but we’ve done it before and gone nine unbeaten. There’s no reason we can’t do ten.

“Apart from Michael Green, everyone's training now and we’ve got 17 players to choose from.

“We’ve not had that number of players available all season. It makes my job harder picking a team, but it means that even the bench will be strong.”

Fans’ favourite Green was due to see a specialist today to check his progress following an ankle operation.

“It would be lovely to see Greener back before the end of the season, he’s been a big part of this club,” said Hessenthaler.

”He’s a whole-hearted player and you know what you’re going to get from him week in, week out. He’s a great lad and we’ve missed him.”

Dover boss Chris Kinnear was delighted to notch a second win in four days at lowly Chester, but admitted it hadn’t been easy.

“If you ask me, Chester are in a false position,” he said. “They got the ball down and played in the first half, causing us a few problems and more than matching us.

"Thankfully we were able to raise our game enough and we can head into Saturday at Eastleigh full of confidence.

“It’s another tough away game against a decent side, but we’ll be ready and we feel confident of keeping this good run going.”

Dover have a couple of former Spitfires in their squad – 13-goal striker Ryan Bird and defender Connor Essam, a linchpin of the side with 37 league appearances this season.

Essam has scored just once – against Eastleigh in a 2-0 Dover win at Crabble in November.

Looking back on his Dover days, Hessenthaler said: “I went to the club when they were in a bit of trouble in 2007, spoke to the chairman and he sold the club’s ambition to me.

“I went in, brought in some good players and got the foundations right and we won back-to-back promotions (from Ryman South and Premier Division). The following season Dover got to the play-offs but lost to Woking over two legs.

“To be fair to Chris (Kinnear), he has carried on that good work and taken the club on.

“For my two years there we played total football and were able to play our way out of the league.

“Under Chris, they like to get the ball forward quickly and they do it very well. They play a certain way and they get results."