ROB Small has tipped Kenzer Lee to go on and play at a higher level after making an impressive start to his Bowers & Pitsea career.

Lee made the move to the Len Salmon Stadium from Hornchurch in the summer and has played every minute of Bowers’ Isthmian Premier League season so far.

And Bowers boss Small is pleased with the impact the central defender has made.

“Kenzer has brought a level of professionalism to the group,” said Small, whose side are plying their trade in the third tier of non-league football for the first time in the club’s history.

“I think he is a natural leader and organiser.

“Kenzer has a lot of football intelligence and it is also great that he is willing to learn.

“But, above and beyond all that, he is an excellent football player and I think he is playing beneath himself.

“I am 100 per cent certain that he can play at a higher level, but I also want him to stay at Bowers and become an integral part of our team for a number of years to come.

“Kenzer was a bit of a coup signing and we didn’t think we would be able to sign a player of his calibre.

“Thankfully, he liked what we are doing here and he gets more impressive as the weeks go by.”

Lee has played a key role as Bowers have conceded just seven goals in their first six outings of the Isthmian Premier League campaign.

And, having kept a second clean sheet at Kingstonian last time out, Small is satisfied with Bowers’ defensive record.

“Defending is something we work really hard on in training because we want that to provide the foundations for our attacking players to win us the game,” added Small.

“There are still plenty of things to improve on, but we are learning quickly.

“What worked for us last season is not necessarily going to work this term, so we have to evolve.

“I’m pleased with how we have been defending so far and there are promising signs.”

However, Small did see a key member of last season’s Isthmian North title-winning side depart last week as Lewis Clark joined Grays Athletic.

The arrival of Lee resulted in Clark having less game-time and, as a result, the defender opted to leave Bowers after making 117 appearances and finding the back of the net eight times.

And Small was keen to praise Clark for his service to the club.

“Lewis is one of the best characters I have had the pleasure of managing,” admitted Small.

“He doesn’t take himself too seriously and he was good for the dressing room as well as being a great defender who helped us get out of the Isthmian North.

“Unfortunately, he found minutes hard to come by in this division and it’s a shame because we know what he is capable of.

“He decided joining Grays was too good to turn down.”