DEREK Bowden has not ruled out the possibility of Essex making more new signings before the start of the new season.

But the Essex County Cricket Club chief executive has said he does not expect much activity between now and when the new County Championship campaign begins in April.

Essex have already secured the services of England spinner Monty Panesar on a two-year deal.

And the likes of Ravi Bopara, Jaik Mickleburgh and David Masters have also committed their future to the club.

However, Bowden is not anticipating too many additions to Paul Grayson’s squad prior to their County Championship opener against Derbyshire at the County Ground on April 13.

Bowden said: “It’s possible that new players could come in before the start of the new season.

“But we already have a pretty big squad – there may be one more but I don’t think that there will be a flurry of activity.

“We’ve already brought in Monty Panesar and signed three or four new Academy players.

“And the likes of David Masters, Ravi Bopara and Graham Napier have all signed for another year.

“We have a pretty full squad and if we’re really serious about the youth policy, we need to be looking at that area.

“Paul Grayson is working very closely with the Academy and John Childs who runs it and it’s a strategy that we’re determined to stick to.

“There comes a time strategically that you need to play these players.”

Bowden is confident that the arrival of the newly-launched Natwest T20 Blast will see the popularity of Twenty20 cricket in the county increase further this season.

This season will see Essex play seven home matches in the competition, including five floodlit Friday night matches at the County Ground.

They will also play a Twenty20 match against Kent Spitfires as part of the Colchester Cricket Festival at Castle Park, on July 12.

“The Friday night Twenty20 matches are great and it’s good for us,” added Bowden.

“It’s something that is designed to maximize income and bring in the crowds.

“There’ll be no competition from football to rival the Twenty20 match in Colchester on the Saturday and we’re expecting it to be very popular.”