JOE Keith says he has ‘no excuses’ ahead of the new season after securing some exciting new signings at Tilbury.

Former East Thurrock United pair Lewis Smith and James Walker have recently made the move to Chadfields to link up with the former Rocks coach.

Keith has completed his first season as manager, having replaced Gary Henty in October.

And he is pleased to have got so much transfer business done following the conclusion to the Isthmian North campaign.

“I am really pleased to have got the Lewis deal over the line as I worked hard on that,” he said. “After that went through I got more phone calls as people were impressed we were able to get it done.

“I knew Lewis and his work situation has changed which meant he couldn’t do a lot of the travelling in the National League South. I knew about this early and having spoken to Covo [John Coventry] and kept in conversation I was able to get in early.

“Lee Hodges [coach] has a similar job to Lewis so it all seems to match up. It is a no-brainer for us.

“And Walks is a forward people like playing with. Lewis loves playing with him and the two worked so well together at East Thurrock.

“He is good on the pitch but a great leader in the dressing room as well. We have talented young forwards at the club and he will help them.”

Tilbury finished the season in 17th position, ending the campaign with four successive victories and three straight clean sheets.

And Keith said he was satisfied at how strongly his team finished last season.

“It did please me,” he said. “It was a bit up and down and there were some low points.

“I wanted to look at a lot of the youngsters and they needed a bit of guidance. Towards the end we got rid of more of the senior guys and gave the youngsters a go. It made it hard planning for this season as you can’t be successful with so many young players. You need the right sort of experienced players to take their places and so far we have done that.

“There is not much respite. I had to take an under 23 game the week after the season finished and that that occupied the first week. Then I wanted a week off to have a rest before I got started but things happen and you don’t get that chance.

“In terms of business, I am not looking for loads more players,” he said. “It is about getting the right people, bot necessarily the best people.

“We had spells where we went unbeaten and then we couldn’t win and there needs to be a consistency and that is the challenge with the youngsters.

“They are often just happy to be playing but we need to be winning as well. They took this on board and I saw the shift at the end of the season.

“The whole club have been brilliant with me. The chairman and board have been great and have always tried to accommodate what I want.

“It gives me no excuses so I must make sure we are well set for next season.”