ANDY Hessenthaler is hoping Eastleigh’s luck will turn back in their favour just as quickly as it deserted them.

It was just under two weeks ago that the Spitfires were celebrating a 2-1 result at Dover Athletic – their third win in four league games.

But just when it looked as if their Vanarama National League season was about to take off, an injury crisis struck.

It means Hessenthaler’s men head into Saturday’s (3pm) home game against fifth-placed AFC Fylde looking to turn the tide on three straight defeats against Ebbsfleet, Harrogate and Maidenhead.

“We beat Dover and then on the following Monday, Saturday and Tuesday we’ve had three bad results – that’s how quickly football changes,” said Hessenthaler.

“But when you’re on a run like that, you’ve got to show character and come through it. Get yourselves back on a decent run and suddenly you’re up amongst it again.”

Although the cruel spate of injuries hasn’t helped Eastleigh's predicament, Hessenthaler believes other factors have contributed to them sliding down to 18th in the table.

“I still say the fixture pile-up hasn’t helped and you only need to pick up injuries during that spell and it causes problems,” he said. “The injuries we've had would cripple a team in any league especially if they haven’t got a massive squad.

“But even though results have gone against us, we've been in all the games near enough and it's very frustrating because I don’t think we deserve to be where we are.

“Up until the two goals Maidenhead scored (just before half-time) we were probably the better team on Tuesday.

“One ball over the top has caught us out for the first goal – it’s one we could have done something about, but the second one was more bad luck than anything.

“For the first goal, we were looking for the offside and we can’t do that, we’ve got to defend properly.

“Attacking-wise we’ve got to do better too. We're creating chances, but we’re not taking them and that's got to change.

“We’ve just got to get on with it, keep working hard as a group – the ones that are fit, that is – and get ourselves back on a decent run.”

Fingers crossed, striker Paul McCallum, who was suspended on Tuesday in any case, will return from a calf problem and defender Andrew Boyce should also be fit.

Ben Williamson and loanee George Dowling remain sidelined, while James Constable and Joey Jones are rated 50-50.

New midfield loan signing Jack Payne from Ebbsfleet could be in line to start.

“Jack played for me at Gillingham and was at Orient with me too, although I didn’t sign him,” said Hessenthaler.

“It's only four or five years ago that he went to Peterborough for £750,000, so the lad’s got a decent pedigree.

“He lost his way a bit when he picked up a couple of injuries, but he’s fit now and, to be fair, Ebbsfleet have done us a big favour. He’s a good footballer.”