PAUL McCallum has hit his season’s goal target ahead of schedule – and Eastleigh manager Ben Strevens is pushing him for more.

Three successive braces have hoisted the hitman’s tally to 21 with 12 games of the regular league programme remaining.

And with the Spitfires now up to fifth place, there is every chance McCallum could be giving defenders nightmares in the National League play-offs.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's home game against FC Halifax Town (3pm) when Eastleigh will be gunning for their sixth straight victory, Stevens said: “Macca’s got six in three games and he’s not even fully fit – and that’s the honest truth.

“He landed quite heavily on his shoulder/back at Aldershot and last week he couldn’t train until the last minute before the Salford game, but he’s gone and scored another two!

“Hess (former manager Andy Hessenthaler) always said that if he got the right service he’d get goals and what Hess said has come true.

“Macca relies on good service and he’s benefitting from the quality balls we’re getting into the box.

“We said he was capable of getting 20 goals this season and he’s on 21 now and we’ll keep pushing him for more.

“He should be looking at 25 – or even 30, which would be great for our season and great for him.”

Although Eastleigh’s deadly No9 has been hogging the headlines, he is not the only Spitfire to be catching the eye.

After an injury-interrupted start to his Spitfires career, ex-Woking midfielder/defender Joey Jones is looking good and set up both McCallum goals in last week’s 2-0 win at Salford.

“In the early part of the season Joey had some niggly injuries and couldn’t get a run of games together but, thankfully, he’s injury-free now and showing everyone what a good player he is,” said Strevens.

“He’s stronger now and a lot of that’s to do with the fitness work in pre-season.

“Joey’s got so much ability and should be pushing to get into the League. I always thought he had League potential even when I was playing against him.

“When we had those couple of successful years there weren’t too many (of the opposition) that I thought were really good players, but Joey was.”

Centre-back Reda Johnson (hamstring) is again unlikely to play on Saturday and, with the likes of McCallum and Mark Yeates soldiering on with injuries, training has been a bit hit-and-miss over the last couple of weeks.

“We didn’t get to do much team shape preparation before the Salford game but I wasn’t worried because they all know their jobs,” said Strevens.

“This group is getting better and better and they’re doing it themselves. Yes, I have to manage them a bit, but these lads spend a lot of time together and they realise they’re a good team.”

Cav Miley returns to the squad after a one-match ban this weekend, striker Ben Williamson could be back from groin trouble and there's a chance on-loan AFC Bournemouth defender Shaun Hobson could be involved for the first time. 

Visitors Halifax are 15th in the table, having drawn six of their eight league games since the turn of the year.

The Shaymen have injuries galore with forwards Ben Tomlinson and Dayle Southwell ruled out for the rest of the season and frontman Scott Quigley (hamstring) and defender Niall Maher (broken hand) both struggling.

Two loan strikers have arrived at The Shay this week – Devante Rodney from Salford City and Manny Daku from Cheltenham Town.

Eastleigh’s trip to Leyton Orient has been rearranged for Tuesday, April 9 (7.45pm) due to the Os’ FA Trophy involvement. It means that five of the Spitfires’ next six league fixtures are at home.