EASTLEIGH’S travelling fans will have to wait to get their first glimpse of new signing Jack McKnight.

The 21-year-old attacking midfielder, signed this week from Basingstoke Town, is one of two young players cup-tied for Saturday's FA Trophy tie at Hemel Hempstead Town (3pm).

The other, home-grown talent Tom Bearwish, has already played in the competition while on loan at AFC Totton.

Manager Ben Strevens said: “It would’ve been nice to have maybe had a look at Jack on Saturday, but he played for Basingstoke against Torquay in the Trophy and did really well. It brought interest from them (Torquay) and a couple of other clubs.

“With Tom, we took the view that it was good for him to play for Totton and it may be that he’ll get the opportunity to go there again soon.

“We’ve got Lewis Harvey out at Fleet at the moment and Callum Baughan’s at Blackfield & Langley.

"They’re youth loans which means we can recall them when we need them but, with Callum, that hasn’t helped him get minutes for Blackfield. We’re going to try our best to leave him there with them so he can get some games.”

McKnight, along with summer arrivals Josh Hare, Alex Wynter and Joey Jones, has brought the average age of the squad down, but Strevens sees the value of older players too.

“It’s finding that balance,” he said. “Someone gave me my chance when I came out of non-League as an 18 or 19-year-old and we’re getting a nice group of young players together now.

“But that doesn’t mean I’m only ever going to sign young players.

“You need that mix of older ones in the group too. Over the last few weeks we’ve seen how well people like Danny Hollands and Mark Yeates have done for the club.”