BEN Strevens is no longer certain of his Eastleigh future – and reckons a few of the players will be looking over their shoulders too.

As job interviews go, yesterday’s 1-0 FA Cup fourth qualifying round exit to lower league Hampton & Richmond Borough was about as painful as it gets for the Spitfires’ caretaker boss, who feels he has next to no chance of landing the job permanently now.

For the second week running Eastleigh were a shadow of the side which, under departed boss Andy Hessenthaler, had strung together four straight wins and six games unbeaten.

But after watching on in horror as Chris Dickson’s 86th-minute strike had sent the Spitfires crashing, a visibly upset Strevens was not prepared to be made a scapegoat for things beyond his control.

Unlike the previous week when he had done his best to deflect criticism of the players following the 2-1 National League defeat by Aldershot, Strevens refused to defend them this time.

Already deprived of new dad Michael Green, injured duo Josh Hare and Reda Johnson and Sunderland loanee goalkeeper Max Stryjek, who was not permitted to play by his parent club, Strevens was badly let down by stay-away striker Chris Zebroski, admitting: “No one has any idea where he is.”

In the days of plenty under former owner Stewart Donald, missing out on a £25,000 slice of the FA Prize fund and the possibility of a money-spinning first round tie would have been frustrating but not disastrous for Eastleigh.

But, in this of all seasons, they could have done with a Cup run and Strevens admitted: “It hurts for what it means to the football club this year and it hurts that I’ve got to put my name to that performance.

“We’ve lost to a team from a lower division and there’s pretty much no chance now that I’ll get the job. I’m not stupid enough to imagine that.”

The 38-year-old added: “My future’s probably uncertain because of stuff that’s been out of my hands.

“And, let’s be honest, some of the players’ futures might be uncertain too. If there were a lot of managers here today, there were alarming signs for them to see.

“I’m getting people having a go at me for players doing things on the pitch that I’ve not told them to do.

“But these boys were put together by me and Andy Hessenthaler in the summer, they went on a six-game unbeaten run and then their manager’s left them, so whether it was me or someone else stepping in, I can understand why.

“If the football club had wanted to give me the job, they’d have given it to me straight after Andy left. I know if we’d got two or three good results and they (the Eastleigh board) had seen the boys putting in the same effort and commitment as they put in for Andy, then maybe that would have happened.

“I’m not in a position to make judgments on what the club will do now, but it certainly doesn’t help (my cause) losing a league game against a local team and then going out of the FA Cup against a team from a division lower.”

Eastleigh: Ross Flitney, Danny Hollands, Joey Jones, Cav Miley, Andrew Boyce, Alex Wynter, Oscar Gobern, Ollie Dennett (James Constable, 69), Paul McCallum, Ben Williamson (Tom Bearwish, 77), Mark Yeates. Subs (not used): Josh Cotton, Callum Baughan, Lewis Harvey.

Referee: Lloyd Wood.

Attendance: 740