EASTLEIGH believe new boss Ben Strevens has the potential to lead the club into the Football League.

The 38-year-old has landed his first job in management with the Vanarama National League club, beating off a host of well-qualified applicants.

Former player and assistant manager Strevens is a popular figure at the Silverlake Stadium and, following today's appointment, chief executive Kenny Amor said: “Ben is an ambitious, young manager and is open to new ideas.

“As a board, we are fully behind Ben.

“We will be investing in the coaching and support network he has at his disposal to ensure he has the correct resources to do the job.

“His assistant manager will be announced later this week.”

Strevens did not get off to the best of starts after stepping in on a caretaker basis following Andy Hessenthaler’s sudden departure to Dover Athletic last month.

But he has quickly grown into the job and Amor added: “For me, Ben has showed in the last two weeks that he is up to the challenge.

“The way he reacted to the disappointment of the FA Cup defeat to bounce back with three very good results and, more importantly, performances, shows both he and his team can finish this season strongly.

“During my time at the club Ben was one of the best players we have had, and if he can lead the team off the field as well as he did on it then we are in good hands.

“As a club, our goals have not changed from wanting League football and we believe in Ben we have the right man to deliver this.

“We are excited about the outcome and we wish Ben and his team every success in the future.”

Strevens’ appointment comes at the end of a thorough four-week process which involved sifting through between 70 and 100 applications - many boasting experience from higher up the pyramid.

Club director Mick Budny confirmed: “We received applicants who had Premier League, Championship & international experience.

“We also interviewed talented individuals who have had great success in non-League football.

“The compensation which was on offer for this role was not an issue for any of our shortlisted candidates.

"It was clear that the club’s vision and ambition was the most attractive part for these people.

“Going forward as the club develops its own ethos and identity, we had to ensure the successful candidate was the correct fit for this role, to fulfil our ambition of gaining League status within our financial means.

“At all times during this process, the most important consideration was the doing the right thing for the club and our supporters.

“Ben, however, had the most compelling case, which is why we offered him the role.”

Strevens, who has just overseen excellent back-to-back 1-1 draws with title contenders Leyton Orient and Salford City, said: “After hearing the news on Friday, I can’t wait to get started now.

“It’ll be a hard job, but I’m really looking forward to it.

“My first two games in caretaker charge, I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t happy with the performances or the results, but the boys have responded with their performance away at Halifax (a 1-0 win) and then two real good results against two real good sides (Leyton Orient and Salford).

“Really, it’s the boys who got me this job and opportunity, I just want to carry on the good work and keep improving.”

Strevens has plenty of time to spend with his players on the training ground over the next few days. Tenth-placed Eastleigh have no game this Saturday, but return to league action at Barrow on November 17.