Eastleigh go into battle at home to Chester on Saturday (3pm) without the goalkeeper manager Richard Hill rates as “the best in the National League.”

Former Arsenal and Barnet stopper Graham Stack played on with a calf strain in the 2-1 win at Hartlepool and was sent home on crutches today to ward off any further damage.

With another quality ‘keeper Ross Flitney ready to stand in, the goalkeeping position is the least of Hill’s worries in a week when loan duo Sam Matthews (groin) and Callum Howe (knee) have joined an already crippling injury list.

But Hill reckons that Stack, who felt his calf go in the warm-up at Hartlepool, gets a rough ride from some Eastleigh fans, possibly because they link him with Martin Allen’s disastrous 84-day managerial reign last term.

“I could tell Stacky was hobbling a bit last week but, typically of him, he carried on without a fuss.

“We didn’t have a goalkeeper on the bench so he knew there was no point making an issue of it – and he didn’t even let the opposition know there was a problem,” said Hill.

“In my opinion Stacky’s been wrongly made a scapegoat by some of our fans and, at some point, they have to start embracing him.

“Stacky does have a close allegiance with Martin Allen because he played for him for so many years, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to play for Eastleigh or Richard Hill.

“He was the best goalkeeper in this league the year Barnet won it and, for me, he still is.”

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