EAST Thurrock manager John Coventry will apologise to the manager of AFC Sudbury after Kris Newby agreed to join Rocks – despite having already signed a deal with the Suffolk club.

Coventry was on holiday in Greece when he was told that Newby had in fact already signed a contract with the Ryman North Division side.

By this point, East Thurrock had already revealed their squad list, with Newby’s name on it.

However, the Football Association has confirmed that Newby is an AFC Sudbury player, leaving Coventry a player short ahead of the new season.

“Kris Newby and I go back a long way,” said Coventry. “We have had the odd problem in the past and when I bumped into him for the first time in a year a while back, he expressed an interest in joining us. He told me he ‘owed me something’.

“So I had a long, hard think about it and decided it would be a deal that would benefit us.

“So I spoke with Kris and we came to an agreement.

“Then I found out he had already signed Ryman League forms with Sudbury and, having gone on holiday thinking most of my business was done, I now find myself looking for a forward.”

A statement from the Suffolk side’s manager David Batch said: ‘Newby has signed a contract with AFC Sudbury which has been registered with the FA.’ The ex-Witham Town wideman enjoyed a terrific season last year, scoring 22 goals, but signed a deal with AFC Sudbury after Town failed to extend his current deal.

Coventry added: “I will be contacting Sudbury and apologising to their manager as this should never have happened. As far as I am concerned, he is a Sudbury player and that is the end of it.

“Kris owes me a conversation but I have had no contact with him for a few weeks. I must focus on the 15 players I do have at my disposal and how best to move forward.”

Coventry also confirmed forward Lewis Smith had agreed to stay with Rocks next season.