MARK Bentley is hoping to have bolstered his defensive options ahead of Canvey Island’s trip to Bury Town tomorrow.

The Gulls are still searching for their first Isthmian North clean sheet of the season and have conceded eight goals in their last two outings.

And Canvey boss Bentley stresses it is important to make sure there is competition for places at the heart of his defence.

“We want to bolster the squad and we’re hoping to have signed another centre-half before the weekend,” said Bentley.

“The two central defenders - Mike Finneran and Alex Stephenson - have no pressure on them at the moment.

“We need to have more competition for places in different areas and failing to keep clean sheets is a massive concern for me.

“You can’t win league titles or get into the play-offs by conceding goals.

“If you are conceding lots of goals, you are not going to go very far no matter how many goals you score at the other end of the pitch.”

Meanwhile, Josh Hutchinson has parted ways with Canvey ahead of the weekend.

Hutchinson made 31 appearances for the Gulls this season, with his final outing coming in last weekend’s 3-0 defeat to Hullbridge Sports.

And Bentley felt Hutchinson’s departure was the best option for all parties.

“Josh has decided to leave the club,” confirmed Bentley.

“He has not been at the same standards he set at the start of the season over the course of the last few months.

“I thought Josh would set the world alight in this division this season but, for whatever reason, it hasn’t worked out like that.

“It was in everyone’s best interests for him to leave.”