Ross Flitney will probably have the television on tonight.

But he might keep it in the background as he plans for an FA Cup action replay.

The Whitehawk goalkeeper would have been playing for Eastleigh in the BBC’s live game had events not taken a major turn a few weeks ago.

Now he hopes to help Hawks topple Stourbridge, the team he helped knock out last season en route to a third round tie against Bolton.

Flitney, the former Albion loanee, is one of several ex-Eastleigh players who have teamed up again with their former manager Richard Hill.

He made the move after Spitfires boss Ronnie Moore signed Ryan Clarke from AFC Wimbledon to be first choice.

Flitney told The Argus: “The Eastleigh manager wasn’t happy with how I was playing even though I had kept five clean sheets in seven games.

“He wanted to bring another keeper in and I was told, face to face by him, that I wasn’t going to play once this keeper arrived.

“I asked various questions, as you do as a player. The response I got was he was going to play no matter what, which didn’t sit well with me as a player who had been there for nearly five years, who had always played well and who was playing well at the time.

“I was asked to stay as a No.2 but I needed to be playing games.

“I was travelling five hours a day to and from training and to then not play was a bit of an ask for me. I asked to leave and reluctantly the chairman agreed.

“There was no disrespect but we parted and you never know what will happen in the future.

“I’ve enjoyed it here, back with Richard, and hopefully we do something similar to what we did at Eastleigh.”

The Stevenage-based keeper added: “The journey is actually about ten miles further now. It’s about a 220-mile round trip but the difference is I’m playing football.”

The Argus:

Ross Flitney in action for Albion

Flitney had three games during two spells on loan from Fulham to Albion during the 2003-04 season when Ben Roberts was injured.

He said: “I was there for about three months in total. That was a really enjoyable time. I was 19 or 20 and made my league debut.

“I learnt some good things with Ben Roberts and the coaches. It was all good fun.”

That Seagulls side eventually won promotion via the play-offs, something Hawks would love to emulate in National League south this term.

The Argus:

Flitney and his Eastleigh colleagues take the applause at Bolton last season

But Flitney, 32, and team mates Dan Harding, Paul Reid and Ben Strevens enjoyed their Cup run last season and fancy a repeat.

The keeper said: “We played Stourbridge at their place but I don’t remember too much about the game.

“I know it will be tough and I think there are areas where we can improve.

“But I can see even in the three-and-a-half weeks I’ve been here that the gaffer has got the players believing they can win games.”

Flitney knows cup football can bring ups and downs. For downs, look no further than a League Cup trip to Manchester United with League Two side Barnet 11 years ago.

The Argus:

He caught the first ball he received – an overhit through pass - a yard outside his area.

Referee Richard Beeby shrugged his shoulders and showed him the red card, despite the fact there was no hint of a goalscoring opportunity.

It was a desperately cruel blow but one he can laugh about now.

“That was the biggest one, not that I was involved in it for very long!” he said “I still get a bit stick over it to this day from opposing fans.


“You try and have a bit of banter and get them onside. If you manage that, you can have a nice afternoon.

“The FA Cup run we had at Eastleigh got the whole place buzzing and pushed the club to the next level.”

Eastleigh can do it again by beating Swindon tonight. So will their former No.1 tune in?

“No doubt I’ll be watching them. Or maybe I’ll have it on in the background while I’m doing something else!”