THE longer the wait for a new Eastleigh manager drags on, the more comfortable caretaker boss Ben Strevens feels in charge.

Two poor results in his opening games convinced the 38-year-old that he was out of the running to become Andy Hessenthaler’s Silverlake successor.

But, with the pressure off, Strevens’ side have prospered, with Saturday’s 1-0 win at Halifax followed by a 1-1 midweek home draw against a Leyton Orient side who had travelled down as National League leaders.

Whether those performances will have tipped the scales in Strevens’ favour was still unclear today as the announcement of a new manager remained on ice.

But one thing's for sure, if Strevens is still in charge for Saturday’s eagerly-awaited home game against new league leaders Salford City (3pm), he will relax and enjoy it.

Reflecting on the earlier defeats by Aldershot (league) and Hampton & Richmond (FA Cup), he said: “For the first two games, I put myself under a lot of pressure.

“But in a strange way it (those games) took the pressure off and at Halifax last Saturday I just stepped back and enjoyed watching the boys. It was the same against Orient on Tuesday.

“Having Ross Flitney back alongside me was a big help (after he’d played in goal in the FA Cup) and I had Jason Bristow (head of scholarship) on the bench with me as well.

“Jason’s helped me loads in training. He’s got experience, he knows the area and he’s a real good coach too.

“The boys have been excellent in training since Hessy left and that’s why I was so disappointed when that didn’t translate onto the pitch.

“But we’ve got some key players back now, like Josh Hare and Michael Green, and I think everyone’s seen what a difference that’s made in the last two games.”

Salford, the promoted NL North champions, whose shareholders include Manchester United legends Gary and Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Ryan Giggs, will pose another difficult challenge.

“It’ll be tough test against another good side who’ve come into this league,” said Strevens. “They want to get promoted again and they've shown that in the players they’ve brought in and the money they’ve been spending.

“In my opinion Orient and Salford will be battling it out to win the league come the end of the season.”

Reda Johnson and James Constable come back into contention for Eastleigh on Saturday, but Cav Miley has a groin problem and fellow midfielder, ex-Saint Oscar Gobern, lasted just six minutes against Orient.

“Oscar felt a pop in his calf and needs a scan,” said Strevens. “We’ll see how it settles, but he could be out for a good few weeks.

“Cav felt his groin and, if Oscar hadn’t gone off, I’d probably have taken him off at half-time. He’s a massive doubt as well.”