EAST Thurrock United boss John Coventry hopes club legend Sam Higgins can ‘prove people wrong’ after his exit was confirmed.

Higgins has left Rocks and earned a move back into the National League South with Chelmsford City.

And Coventry, whose side will ply their trade in the Isthmian Premier League following relegation from the second tier of non-league football last term, has backed Higgins to enjoy success with Rod Stringer’s Clarets.

“For the last nine years I have spoken to Sam more or less every day, so it was not a surprise to see the direction he was heading in,” said Coventry.

“There are no hard feelings and I am actually pleased for him.

“He took some stick last year because people were saying that he was overweight and finished as a player, but I knew he wasn’t.

“I knew he just had a bad season and now I want him to go and prove people wrong.

“He is better than us and I would like him to prove that to people.

“I am good friends with him as well and I wish him every success at Chelmsford.”

Higgins departs Rookery Hill having smashed previous goalscoring records at the club and found the back of the net on 275 occasions in competitive fixtures for East Thurrock.

And Coventry hinted that his side may boast a different style of play following the captain’s exit.

“This is the fourth time that I have experienced him leaving the club,” added Coventry.

“We can now move in a different direction and we can do things that we couldn’t do when he was in the side.

“But we will miss lots of things that he brings and his ability.

“Opponents always feared facing him and we will miss that as well.

“But we have to move on and look to build a squad without him now.”

Meanwhile, Jordan Brown has become the latest player to agree to join East Thurrock next term.

The former West Ham United trainee shone for Canvey Island in the Isthmian North last season and Coventry is pleased to welcome the left-back - who also counts Concord Rangers among his former clubs - to Rookery Hill.

“Jordan has agreed to join us from Canvey and he is a very good left-back,” admitted the Rocks’ chief.

“I’m looking forward to seeing out backline in action because we will be big and strong next season.

“There are competition for places and I have some very good defensive options.”