EAST Thurrock United manager John Coventry is confident his struggling team is on the cusp of turning a corner.

Rocks have failed to win in the league since September 11, a run stretching eight National League South games.

However, an excellent start to the season means they sit 13th in the table, still nine points clear of the relegation places.

And, despite losing 1-0 to Havant & Waterlooville on Saturday, Coventry says he was encouraged ahead of tonight’s home test against Gloucester City.

“We played a very good Havant side who will be in the top three come the end of the season I believe,” said the Rocks boss.

“We could have been out of it in the first 15 minutes but we hung on and came into the game.

“From that point, I was really pleased with what I saw. I saw a team that knew they had been struggling trying to change it and the work rate was good.

“It was our best performance for a long time and I want to see a continuation of that tonight. Off the back of such a terrible display at Bath, to go home after the match on Saturday and be satisfied was a good feeling.”

Gloucester transferred from the National League North in the summer and have found it hard going in the early months of term - sitting 16th in the standings. But Coventry says it will be a tough test.

“I have played them before and they are a good team,” he said. “We have played them in a cup competition and the manager (Tim Harris) has been there a while. They lost 4-1 at Dartford on Saturday but it wasn’t a true reflection of the game from what I have read and seen.”

Rocks could be without Lewis Smith tonight after he was substituted against Havant, and Coventry also backed Ryan Boswell’s loan move to Bowers & Pitsea.

“Bos needs to play and wants game time,” he said. “There is no better place than with Smallsy (Rob Small) at Bowers.”