THE wait is almost over for Eastleigh fans with the National League club expected to name their new manager tomorrow.

The Echo understands there were two names left in the frame last week, but the smart money must now be on caretaker boss Ben Strevens following uplifting back-to-back performances against table-topping sides.

After so much upheaval in recent seasons, the club are crying out for stability and dare not risk unsettling a group of players who, having been initially stunned by Andy Hessenthaler’s sudden departure, are clearly right behind Strevens in his quest to land the job.

Their support of the interim boss has been there for all to see over the last eight days with a professional 1-0 win at Halifax followed by two impressive 1-1 draws at home to fancied duo Leyton Orient and Salford City.

The Spitfires earned plaudits for their midweek performance against Orient and, if anything, they played even better against Graham Alexander’s Salford side who rolled into town on a 15-game unbeaten league run.

It would have been no real injustice to the visitors had Eastleigh held onto a 47th-minute lead earned when Ben Williamson buried the rebound after Mark Yeates’s effort had been partially saved.

With Yeates inspired, the Spitfires had numerous chances to build on that lead but, having survived one late scare when keeper Max Stryjek fingertipped Rory Gaffney’s blast over, they were caught by a 90th-minute sucker punch – sub Lois Maynard drilling home from the edge of the box just four minutes after going on.

“We should have won that game. We played really well today,” said Strevens.

“It’s probably as good as we’ve played all season and to not take three points is real tough for me and the boys to take.

“But, like I said to them, you’ve got to look at the bigger picture. We’ve just played Orient and Salford, two teams that I think are going to be battling it out at the top of the table, and we’re absolutely gutted not to have won a game of football against them.

“I’m sure that when the dust settles I’ll be able to say how proud I was of the boys – and I am proud of every single one of them.

“We know we’re a good side, we’ve just got to keep it going.”

Asked about his chances of securing the job, Stevens said: “I’m taking myself out of the equation now. It’s all about the boys.

“If I’m manager of this football club or someone else is, they’re inheriting a great group of lads that work hard every day, a group the fans can be proud of.

“These boys are really playing for this football club, playing for me and, most importantly, they’re playing for each other.

“We’ll see what the next few days brings, but I’m just enjoying it now. When you watch the boys playing like that, of course it’s enjoyable.”

Eastleigh: Max Stryjek, Josh Hare, Michael Green, Danny Hollands, Reda Johnson, Alex Wynter, Andrew Boyce, Joey Jones, Paul McCallum (James Constable, 86), Ben Williamson (Chris Zebroski, 81), Mark Yeates. Subs (not used): Ollie Dennett, Tom Bearwish, Ross Flitney.

Referee: Richard Hulme.

Attendance: 2,253.