NEIL Blackburn is seeing improvements from his Basildon United side ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Barking.

The Bees have lost both Isthmian North fixtures - to Great Wakering Rovers and Canvey Island - 4-1 since Blackburn took over as manager.

But the former Laindon Orient boss has seen encouraging signs leading into this weekend’s clash.

“Our performance against Canvey was a lot better than the display at Wakering,” said Blackburn.

“Basic mistakes are hurting us at the moment and we’re not taking our chances.

“We have made a lot of changes at the club, but we are giving each player at the club a chance to show what they’re about.

“We’re giving each players a fair crack before deciding whether players need to be brought in or some need to leave the club.

“The effort and commitment is there, which is vital.”

While Basildon - who are ninth in the standings - got 2019 off to a losing start against Canvey, Barking will be looking to kick-off the new year with victory tomorrow.

The 13th-placed hosts have not featured in a competitive fixture since December 22, when they claimed a 3-0 win over Brentwood Town.

And Blackburn believes the extra recovery time could give Barking an advantage.

“Justin Gardner is an experienced manager and his teams are always difficult to beat,” added Blackburn, who has replaced Lee Connor and Michael Walther in the dugout.

“We will not take this game lighter than any other and they got a good result against Brentwood.

“Not playing in a competitive fixture for so long probably gives them an advantage because they will be fresher, but I will just be asking my players to give 100 per cent.”