IAIN O’Connell says he is pleased at the progress he is making at Great Wakering Rovers in the off-season.

The Rovers manager, who was appointed in February, was unable to save the side from relegation last season.

He is now building his team for an assault on the Essex Senior League next term.

And he says he is pleased with how things are going, although he refused to name which players had confirmed they would be staying at the club.

“It has been an interesting time and I have spoken to about 18 players I would say,” he said.

“We have got about seven or eight players joining us I believe.

“We have five or six that are deciding what to do but I would hope they stay with us.”

O’Connell added he would like to keep Billy Johnson at the club, with the midfielder approaching his 10th year at Burroughs Park.

The Rovers boss says he is looking to arrange a testimonial match for Johnson this season, and has praised him for his loyalty to the club over the years.

“I am trying to keep Billy Johnson as it is his testimonial year this season,” he said.

“He has been talking to another side but I want to persuade him to stay.

“He is a great player and a loyal lad.

“All in all, things are looking good. It is hard work but we are hoping it all falls into place.

“The last two weeks of pre-season you can often pick up other players and that is where I have signed quite a few in the past.”