GRAYS Athletic boss Jamie Stuart believes his side will be ‘a force to be reckoned with’ next season.

Grays are currently eight points off the Isthmian North play-off places and Stuart has confirmed that he is already looking to improve his squad ahead of next season.

And Stuart believes that Grays will be in with a good chance of winning promotion next term.

The Grays chief said: “I strengthened my squad a couple of weeks ago with the forwards.

“I have got players lined up and I’m building for next year.

“I’ve got some very strong players that will be coming here and I think this team will be a force to be reckoned with next season.

“But we want to finish this season strong and keep the momentum going.”

While Stuart is looking to add fresh faces to his squad, the former Charlton Athletic, Millwall and Southend United defender has also made an addition to his coaching staff.

Jermaine Wright - who played for the likes of Leeds United, Ipswich Town and Southampton - will join Stuart in the dugout until the end of the season.

And Stuart admitted that he had been looking to add to his coaching staff for some time.

Stuart added: “I’ve always been looking for someone to help me out. I’ve got a great team here already and I’ve not rushed into any decisions to get someone in.

“I will do everything I think is best and right for the club.

“Jermaine became available. He’s been to Ireland and is doing all of his badges and the A licence.

“Everyone who knows football knows Jermaine and he can help me out because he’s got some great coaching ideas.

“He’s a friend of mine who I’ve known for a long time because of when we used to play at Millwall.

“He’s someone I trust and I’ve brought him in until the end of the season.

“I’ve made a couple of key changes recently and everyone has written us off, but we’ll take each game as it comes and keep going.

“I think the boys will react to Jermaine and he can help a lot of players like Ade Cole and Joao Carlos and they’ll only benefit from it.

“It’s a positive move all round.”

Grays were involved in the only clash in step four of non-league football on Saturday.

Bury Town made the trip to Parkside after the game was given the go ahead.

But Grays claimed a 3-1 victory, which allowed them to leapfrog their visitors in the Isthmian North standings.

A Kieran Bishop brace, along with a Joao Carlos strike, put Grays in a commanding position inside 20 minutes.

Cemal Ramadan netted a consolation for Bury after the break, but Stuart was delighted with his side’s performance.

The Grays boss admitted: “I never thought that the game would be on because of the weather last week.

“I spoke to Craig Johnson, the Aveley chief executive, on Friday and he said that the game could be in doubt but all of the loyal supporters of Grays were at the ground on the morning of the game sweeping the pitch.

“It’s a fantastic community club and we done well to get the game on.

“I want my team working hard, competing and to start lively.

“We’ve done that in the last few games and the game was won in the first half.”

>Grays have opened their doors to Thurrock FC’s youth teams following the news the Ship Lane club are set to fold at the end of the season. Meetings will take place in the next week to establish which teams will take up the offer.