JAMES Webster says Aveley are approaching a critical time in their season after admitting they are currently embroiled in a relegation battle.

Webster took over at the Millers last month, leaving Brightlingsea Regent after eight years.

Having failed to win any of his first six matches in charge, he tasted success at the helm for the first time on Monday - beating his former side 1-0 in the third round of the Velocity Trophy.

Webster says he has found it difficult in the opening weeks, having joined a side midway through a season for the first time.

And, with the Millers third from bottom in the Isthmian North after a run of tricky away games, he is hopeful ahead of Barking’s visit on Monday - and the return of former manager Justin Gardner.

“The style we are working on is conducive to our play and we need the home form to be good if we want to achieve things this season. I want a high tempo and the next couple of months will play a huge part in our season.

“At the moment we are in a relegation fight and you can’t deny that. We are at the bottom of the division and scrapping for points, although I am sure that will change.

“First, we must concentrate on getting out of there and then we can reassess come the start of 2018, but I want to be looking at mid-table by that point.”

Alex Teniola’s goal was enough to defeat Brightlingsea on Monday, much to Webster’s delight.

And, after so long at one club, he said a transitional period was always likely.

“Football is funny the way it turns out these sort of fixtures,” he said. “We needed the win though and I wasn’t too fussed who it came against.

“It has been a tough two or three weeks as I have been trying to get my ideas across while recruiting players as well. It has been a building process and we wanted the guys that were here to have an opportunity as well.

“The players have to learn and implement the ideas we want them to take on board and it has been tough.

"I was at Brightlingsea for so long and I have never come into a situation like this as I have always had a pre-season to get things right. If feels like I am having a pre-season now at times as I wanted to give everyone a chance in competitive games, and maybe that cost us at the beginning.

“But that is my style and I don’t think we are far away now. The most pleasing thing on Monday was the work ethic. When I was at Brightlingsea we built our success on that and that was the first time I saw the standards I wanted at Aveley.

“Now I want the players to kick on. They set their own standards and we need to make sure we get it right when we play Barking.”