BASILDON  United manager John Higley said the signings of ex-pros including Mitchell Cole and Tarkan Mustafa shows how serious they are about having a successful Essex Senior League campaign.

Former Southend United winger Cole played for the Bees in their win at Barkingside on Saturday, and former Dagenham & Redbridge full-back Mustafa is set to make his debut in this evening’s league clash at home to Takeley.

Higley said: “They’ve come here to play, it’s not the case that we’ve made them great big offers.

“We will help them by being flexible when they have work commitments, and they will help us with their experience.

“Mitchell played on Saturday and did really well. “He went past three or four players like they weren’t there, and it’s clear he has not lost any of his quality.

“I think these signings will help put Basildon back on the map.

“But it’s not just about these big signings because we have some very good young players coming through here, too.”

Higley said he managed to lure Cole, who retired from the professional game because of a heart condition, to Basildon because he knew him through his brother Tim Cole, who he managed at previous club London APSA.

Higley said the club have also signed former Crawley Town youth team player Oliver Emsden, and ex-Charlton Athletic schoolboy TJ Martin.

The Bees moved up to eighth in the table on Saturday, and Higley revealed that he wants a top-half of the table finish for his side this season.

Tonight’s match with Takeley kicks-off at Gardiners Close at 7.45pm.