EASTLEIGH’S opening day defeat by Solihull Moors still plays on the mind of boss Ben Strevens.

But as the Spitfires prepare for a revenge mission at Damson Park on Saturday (3pm), Strevens at least has the comfort of knowing that it’s not just Eastleigh who have fallen prey to the West Midlanders this term.

Under the leadership of ex-Saints goalkeeper Tim Flowers, the Moors have rapidly transformed themselves from a bottom-third side last season to one rubbing shoulders with the National League ‘big boys’ in fifth spot.

Strevens, who began the season as right-hand man to Andy Hessenthaler, watched on in dismay on August 4 as Solihull pulled off a 2-1 smash ‘n’ grab raid at the Silverlake.

Eastleigh had been comfortably the better side and, when Paul McCallum struck from the penalty spot in the 77th minute, it looked like justice had been done.

But the Moors silenced the home crowd with two goals in the last ten minutes from Adi Yussuf and Dan Sweeney.

“We played so well that day, as good as I can remember at home,” Stevens recalled. “Yet we ended up losing the game.

“But Solihull have shown over the course of the season that they’re a good side. I’ve watched them quite a few times and I’m not surprised they’re doing well.

“We’re playing a team in a play-off position away from home and it’s going to be tough.”

Eastleigh sit just three points outside the play-off zone in tenth following Tuesday’s 2-1 derby win over Havant & Waterlooville.

With Danny Hollands due back from an ankle injury, they should travel with a full squad, bar Michael Green who serves the last of a three-match ban.

Strevens has no immediate plans to strengthen his playing personnel but, with the likes of Reda Johnson, Josh Hare and 14-goal top scorer Paul McCallum catching the eye, there is always the possibility that a Football League club will come calling.

“If there’s going to be interest in our players, it’s because we’re doing something right,” said Strevens. “I’m desperate for the boys to get into the Football League, hopefully with Eastleigh, and I want to be a Football League manager myself one day.

“If I want to get someone in, I can, but right now I don’t feel I need to, but we’ll see what comes up.

“If we do sign someone it has to be right person, the right character and the right player for this club.”

Solihull boss Flowers, who made over 250 appearances for Saints between 1986 and 1993, assisted Mark Yates in keeping the Moors in the division last season and took over as boss when Yates left for Macclesfield in the summer.

He said: “We’re not a surprise any more. Gone are the days where little old Solihull could get bullied off the pitch by big, strong lads.

“We’ve got lads who can stand up for themselves and can cause other teams major threat.

“We’re doing something right, but we want to keep improving.”