BILLERICAY Town player-manager Jamie O’Hara believes Sam Deering as among the best players in the National League South.

Deering endured an injury-hit pre-season, which resulted in the creative midfielder having to be eased back into the Billericay squad.

But O’Hara admits he has challenged the 28-year-old to improve his performances after fully recovering from his summer lay-off.

O’Hara said: “Outside of football, Sammy is my mate.

“But, as his manager, I said I need more from him.

“He could be the best player in this league, so I said he needs to start showing that to warrant being here.

“The reaction I got from him against Bath was brilliant.

“His work rate is fantastic, while he also runs off the ball and wins tackles.

“You don’t need to be 6ft if you’re clever.

“The great thing with Sammy is he gets it and his first thought is to play forward.”

O’Hara has made an encouraging start to his first job in management, having replaced Harry Wheeler in the hotseat last month.

Wins over Basildon United and Bath City have been registered in the FA Cup, ensuring the club has booked a fourth qualifying round trip to National League outfit Sutton United.

A National League South draw with Dorking Wanderers means O’Hara remains unbeaten since taking charge and a key reason for that is the new signings O’Hara has attracted to the Steel Team Stadium.

Among them is Odysseus Alfa, who has joined Town on loan from Championship club Queens Park Rangers.

And O’Hara is pleased with the impact the pacy winger has made.

“Ody has been a fantastic capture from QPR,” added O’Hara.

“He has been outstanding and he is everything I want from that type of player.

“Ody is direct, good on the ball and works his socks off.

“If I can help him to become a better player, that would be great.

“When I saw him at QPR, he kept coming short.

“Now I’m telling him to come short and spin away and defenders can’t live with him.

“I’m getting the best out of the players I’ve got and trying to improve them every time I’ve got them.

“It’s a magical thing and it’s great to be in a position to be able to do that.”

O’Hara has been looking to add defensive reinforcements to his options having seen Gavin Gunning and Craig Robson leave last month.