ALEX Salmon insists Basildon United will have a strong squad available when Canvey Island make the short trip for a local derby tomorrow.

Salmon will be in charge for the first time since replacing interim player-manager Kris Newby in the hotseat on Sunday.

A host of Bees have since departed due to a main sponsor withdrawing their backing, which resulted in a change in the financial position at the club.

But Salmon has been working around the clock to ensure Basildon are prepared for this weekend’s Isthmian North encounter with Mark Bentley’s Gulls.

“We have brought in some really good boys who will work around the guys we have kept at the club,” said Salmon, who also played for the Bees.

“There are still one or two things to sort out but we will be ready for tomorrow’s game.

“I know a lot of players have left the club, but it has all gone pretty smoothly.

“Although there are a couple of situations, we are getting there.

“The squad is starting to settle back down again and I can’t wait for the game because I just want us to get back out on the pitch after a busy week.

“It’s a huge game for us and I’m looking forward to my first game in charge.”

Although some stars have left the club, Salmon will still be able to call upon some experienced figures.

Captain Conor Mead, Conor Tyrell, Jimmy Cox, Joe Paxman, Joe Turpin, Adam Vyse and Reece Price-Placid have all agreed to stay with the Bees.

Exciting youngsters Marlon Stratford, Louie Young and Albert Perry will also continue in the first team squad, while Luke Jackson has remained out on loan with Essex Senior League outfit Southend Manor.

However, the third-from-bottom Bees will face a tough task against a Canvey side sitting just three points adrift of the play-off places.