JOHN Coventry says he has all but completed his East Thurrock United squad ahead of next season’s National League South campaign, after making four impressive signings.
Following the signing of Concord Rangers captain James White, the Rocks chief has also added Bowers & Pitsea striker Brad Warner and former attacker Lewis Smith.
Coventry has also signed ex-Canvey defender George Allen.
And he said the four were excellent signings for the club, who finished 13th in their first ever season in the second tier of non-league football.
“These are four very good signings for us,” said Coventry. “We need someone like James White as we lacked players with experience of this division.
“Word got to me that maybe James wasn’t as happy as he has been in the past. All players like a change at some stage and he has been very successful there in a successful side.
“We lacked presence, strength, height and ability in central midfield but that won’t be the case anymore. James is a leader. You get the whole package and he will be an excellent addition. I am excited about it.
“We struggled defensively last year and everyone seemed to be bigger than us,” added Coventry, of Allen. “When a 6ft 3in centre-half becomes available who is also a very good footballer I thought it would make sense.
“Last season was a difficult one for him in terms of injuries but he had played three consecutive seasons for Bishop’s Stortford without hardly missing a game.
“Brad is someone I have liked since he was 17. He was playing for Thurrock reserves and I liked him very much. I have seen he has grown up and matured and has enough ability to be successful at this level.
“He is a good lad and has good personality. He can pop up anywhere and that scares opposition defenders and we have a number of players that fit that role now.”
Smith returns to the club after completing a 17-month ban from football after he was found guilty of betting offences by the Football Association.
The winger, who was described as a ‘prolific gambler’ by the FA was also fined almost £23,000, but Coventry says he will play for Rocks next season after his ban expires on August 1.
“Lewis Smith is a friend and someone I have known since he was about 12 through my connections with district football,” said Coventry. “His family are friends and he is a very good player that should have played higher than the level we are at at some stage in his career.
“Myself, Lewis and (secretary) Neil Speight went to the FA headquarters at Christmas time and agreed an arrangement that would enable him to start playing on August 1.
“He is back training with us from the start of July but he can’t play. He will play in a friendly match against Tilbury on August 5 but will be fit for the start of the season. He has just completed the London Marathon and is a fit lad.
“I don’t plan on doing anything else but that can change as some people may change their minds,” concluded Coventry. “They are free agents but I am happy for now.”