BEN Strevens is hopeful that Paul McCallum’s injury is not as bad as first thought.

When Eastleigh’s top scorer pulled out of training late last week with a thigh problem, boss Strevens feared the 22-goal hitman could be ruled out for the rest of the season.

But, speaking after Saturday’s 3-2 win over Hartlepool United, Strevens was more optimistic about the former Leyton Orient man – albeit that McCallum is doubtful for Tuesday's home game against Barnet (7.45pm).

“Initially I was really worried that it might be his season doen, but it seems to have settled down and we’re hopeful it’s not as bad as we first thought,” he said.

“He’s probably doubtful for Tuesday and then we’ll reassess him for the weekend (away to fifth-placed AFC Fylde) and next Tuesday (away to league leaders Orient).

Reda Johnson was also a late withdrawal from Saturday’s squad due to a quad muscle strain.

The defensive titan is having by far his most effective campaign for Eastleigh, having made 31 appearances so far, and, with the play-offs in touching distance, Strevens will take no chances.

“Reda’s not too serious, but he’s played so many games this year and he’s been a massive part of what we’ve done, and we don’t want to risk him in a game and then he’s out for the rest of the season,” explained the boss.

“He and Macca are big players and big misses, but I thought Ben Williamson was brilliant up front today and Shaun Hobson came in and did really well.”

Reflecting on the Hartlepool win, Strevens added: “It was really pleasing especially after the last two Saturday home games where we haven’t picked up the points we wanted.

“Hartlepool played some real good stuff at times, especially in the first half, and caused us a lot of problems. But the first 20 minutes of the second half we were excellent and could maybe have scored another.”