EAST Thurrock United boss John Coventry has heaped praise on Jay Devereux after his assistant manager announced he would be stepping down next season.

Devereux has been Coventry’s number two for seven seasons, but the Rocks favourite will now be taking a break from football.

And Coventry said he was disappointed to lose a ‘good friend’ in Devereux.

“Devs has a young family and wants to spend more time and especially weekends with his wife and children,” he said. “I’m disappointed to lose someone that has assisted me brilliantly and is also a good friend.

“In the summer of 2010 - after losing in two play-off semi-finals - I brought in Devs and he added exactly what I had hoped for.

“In 2011 we were promoted to the Ryman Premier League. That was the start of the success that included FA Cup and FA Trophy runs, cup finals and our second promotion in six seasons.

“This season has probably given us the biggest satisfaction - competing in the National League South and securing our place in the division next season.

“We have delivered the best times in the club’s history.”

Coventry invites supporters, players and former players to have a drink with him and Devereux after the final game of the season against Wealdstone next Saturday.

>In the Essex Senior League this weekend, Basildon United host FC Romania in their final league match of term and Southend Manor welcome champions Barking.