JOE Keith believes his ‘opportunistic’ swoop for Mitch Gilbey proves Tilbury are heading in the right direction.

The 24-year-old midfielder made the shock move from Canvey Island to the Dockers at the end of last week.

Keith says his good relationship with Gilbey and his older brother Reiss was a key factor in making the move happen.

Gilbey was regarded as one of Canvey’s key players having scored 21 goals last season, winning the players’ and supporters’ player of the year awards as well as being named in the Isthmian North team of the year.

He also made five appearances for the Dockers in the

2013/14 season.

Gilbey had a debut to forget - going down 4-1 against Bedford Town in the FA Trophy on Saturday.

And Keith, who took over as manager a year ago next week, admits the move would probably not have happened if Danny Heale had still been Canvey manager.

“It is a coup signing and we are proud of it as a club,” said Keith. “It may surprise a few people but this club wants to go places. It is progressive and they want to do things the right way. They have done a lot to help me and I need to deliver on the pitch.

“I am close with Gilbs and his older brother is a good friend. Once Danny stepped down I felt it was time to approach Gilbs so I put a seven-day approach in which I probably wouldn’t have done if Danny was there because of our friendship. It was an opportunist move.

“I put together squad in the summer [including former East Thurrock United pair Lewis Smith and Simon Peddie] that people raised their eyebrows at but it didn’t quite work. I felt it was too unbalanced and I have tried to do something about that.

“I am confident we have the right group now.”

The Dockers led at half-time against Bedford but conceded four second half goals to lose 4-1 against the team from the Southern Division One Central side.

Lewis Jaggs’ strike hit the crossbar before the first goal arrived - Abdul Salami nodding home the opener.

Tilbury hit the frame of the goal again but ten minutes after half-time the match was all square. Callum Donnelly equalised and four minutes later they led.

Paul Benson tapped home and Gavin Hoyte added a third five minutes later, shortly after Rhys Madden had denied Dan Walker from the penalty spot.

The final goal came with five minutes remaining, Charlie Hayward on target as Tilbury went down with a whimper.

And, following a poor start to term in which Tilbury find themselves third from bottom in the Isthmian North, Keith says his team must pick up better results in the weeks ahead.

“On Saturday the first half was up there with as good as anything I have seen but the second half was as poor as anything I have seen.

“We feel really disappointed with that and it doesn’t get much easier. But we often perform in some of the more difficult games, on paper.

“That seems to have been the way since I arrived so it could be a blessing.”