JOHN Coventry insists his grandson will have to earn the right to be a regular member of East Thurrock United’s first team.

Jack Coventry-James was named on the substitutes bench as Rocks drew 1-1 with Cray Wanderers at the weekend.

But Coventry will not be giving the promising youngster preferential treatment simply because he is a member of the family.

“I am not an emotional person,” said East Thurrock chief Coventry.

“Some would be quick to say that it was a proud moment for me to have my grandson on the bench, but I had a job to do.

“We only had two players to name on the bench, so I quickly got him registered and he came with us.

“Jack was there to do a job for us if needed and he was not named in the squad because he is my grandson.

“He has to look at it that way and I am not doing him a little favour.

“Jack needs to earn the right to make his East Thurrock debut and become a regular member of the squad.”

Rocks are set to lock horns with Margate in an Isthmian Premier League clash at Rookery Hill tonight.

And East Thurrock will go into the encounter following a stalemate at Cray.

The outing saw Billy Crook grab his first goal for the club and Coventry is pleased to have the experienced midfielder, who counts Dartford among his former sides, among his options.

Coventry added: “I had tried to get Billy for the last two or three years, so it’s great to now have him on board.

“I know how good he is and he, along with Andy Pugh, should be playing at a higher level than the Isthmian Premier League.

“They are better than the third tier of non-league football and it’s a privilege to have them in the squad.”

While goal difference separates Rocks from the play-off places, Margate make the trip to south Essex having made a steady start to the campaign.

Jay Saunders’ side knocked Concord Rangers out of the FA Cup earlier this month and Coventry has been handed a fitness boost ahead of the clash.

“Mitch Gilbey could return after suffering what we think was a hairline fracture to his toe,” confirmed Coventry.

“He came through a test at the weekend and it would be good to have him available for selection again because he was doing well before the injury.

“We could also name five substitutes, which is a luxury for us.”