EAST Thurrock United will get their pre-season programme underway by welcoming Romford to Rookery Hill tonight.

Romford, who have earned a reprieve following their initial relegation from the Isthmian North heading into the new campaign, groundshared with the Rocks last term.

And East Thurrock boss John Coventry is looking forward to being in the opposite dugout to Romford chief Paul Martin this evening.

Coventry said: “Magic is the manager at Romford and we get on well.

“They groundshared with us last season and we have a good relationship with them.

“We try to help each other out and a friendly was the least we could do for each other.”

East Thurrock are preparing for Isthmian Premier League football after suffering the dreaded drop from the National League South last season.

Coventry has welcomed a number of familiar faces to Rookery Hill, including former stars Lewis Smith, Mitch Gilbey and Jason Ring.

And Coventry admitted some trialists are likely to feature in tonight’s encounter.

“We have had four training sessions so far and they have been going well,” added Coventry.

“We’ve got a few trialists at the moment and they will get a few minutes against Romford.

“Friendlies are about giving everyone minutes on the pitch.

“It will be the first time they have seen a ball in a match in months.

“We have been working with the ball in training but it’s totally different in any game, let alone in the first game back.”