DARREN Manning is pleased to have bolstered his backroom staff ahead of Hullbridge Sports taking on Isthmian North table-toppers Bury Town.

Andre Thomas has been appointed as the new lead first team coach.

And Sports boss Manning is pleased to have Thomas on board.

Manning said: “Andre has been on my radar for a while and we have been in conversation for a long time.

“We started in the Essex Senior League reserves together and have been close ever since.

“He is a perfect fit for us and how we want to play and work.”

Hullbridge are 15th in the standings and Manning is relishing welcoming Bury to the Ryan’s Heating Stadium tomorrow.

“We can’t wait to test ourselves against the team who are top of the league,” added Manning.

“They are there for a reason and it’s going to be extremely tough, but it is a challenge we are relishing.

“All of the pressure is on them and nobody would be putting us in their betting accumulator tomorrow!

“We will be able to play with freedom and that is refreshing.”

However, Manning will be unable to call upon Perry Dunn and Matt Baxter after the duo departed the club earlier this week.

“Perry and Matt are big losses for us and they were integral parts of the Essex Senior League title-winning squad,” admitted Manning.

“I have worked with both of them at previous clubs and class them as good friends.

“I wish them both the best for the future.”