BOWERS & Pitsea manager Rob Small says filling the void of his two star strikers will be a difficult one to fill.

Brad Warner has departed to join East Thurrock United, while David Knight has departed in search of a ‘fresh challenge’.

The pair scored a total of 51 goals last season, with Warner striking 34 and Knight 17.

And Small says finding an adequate replacement will be extremely difficult.

“Brad has moved to a great club with a great manager and it is a great opportunity for him,” he said.

“(East Thurrock manager) John (Coventry) contacted me before the season was out and said he had taken a great interest in what Bowers were doing and asked what the situation was with Brad.

“I said we would let him know at the end of the season and it was a fairly straight forward decision for Brad.

“He wants to test himself so I am delighted he has been given a chance and I hope he reaches the level he reached for us, and more.

“We have lost 51 goals and that is arguably impossible to replace.

“I don’t know if you can replace Brad and we will have to find a new way to win matches.

“David hasn’t agreed to sign anywhere officially at this stage,” he added.

“It was decided that we were going in a direction that didn’t suit him and he wanted a fresh challenge.

“However, Lewis Manor has committed for the season, Jay Nash is coming back and that is exciting for us as he epitomises the sort of character I look for in a player.

He had a lot of setbacks and that makes him dangerous. He has the fire in his belly and I want to see that.”

Small said he feared the team breaking up in the weeks ahead, as several other players weight up their options.

But he said he is doing everything he can to keep the group together.

“The majority of the team are keen to stay and a few I am sweating on,” he said.

“The nature of the season we had means others are interested. I spoke with (former Billericay manager) Craig Edwards about this as he built teams which proved themselves but would then get picked off.

“If you want to be competitive there needs to be continuity, momentum and trust and that takes time.

“I will be patient as the dressing room is a delicate place. I want the right guys to come in, that is very important.”

One player Bowers have recruited is Romford goalkeeper Callum Chafer, who impressed last campaign in the Ryman North.