ALTHOUGH Rob Small is pleased to have completed the triple signing of Kenzer Lee, Marlon Agyakwa and Dan Trendall, he insists the trio will need to earn their place in his strongest starting line-up.

Bowers & Pitsea cruised home to the Isthmian North title last term and the club are preparing for their first ever campaign in the third tier of non-league football.

And Small, who also oversaw the return of ex-Hornchurch goalkeeper Callum Chafer as a direct replacement for the departed Andrew Wilton earlier in the summer, feels adding fresh faces to his squad was necessary.

The Bowers chief said: “The boys we have brought in fill the gaps where we have lost players since the end of the season.

“They will add some new energy and intensity to the squad.

“It’s nice to freshen the squad up because I think it is important to bring in some fresh faces who will provide competition for places.

“I have no intention of making wholesale changes, but we needed to add some different options.”

While Small has now made four signings ahead of the forthcoming campaign, Small was particularly keen to keep the core of his squad at the Len Salmon Stadium.

Bowers clinched the Isthmian North title with four matches still to play last term and finished 12 points clear of their nearest challengers.

The champions also embarked on a 15-match winning streak on their way to clinching silverware just 12 months after narrowly missing out on automatic promotion.

And Small admits that Lee, Agyakwa and Trendall may need to bide their time before becoming the first names on the teamsheet.

Small, who has now won two promotions since taking charge at the Len Salmon Stadium five years ago, added: “At the end of the season, the priority was to keep the group of players together after winning the Isthmian North title.

“We sold the dream of getting promoted to a group of players and we didn’t want to snatch that away from them.

“The players know what is required of them and they understand me as well.

“The foundations we have laid is worth a great deal of value and there is a mental obligation to give the players the opportunity they deserve in the Isthmian Premier League.”