BRIGHTLINGSEA Regent manager Tom Rothery believes his players have a “massive window of opportunity” to progress to the next level.

The R’s are just two points outside the Bostik League premier division play-offs after Saturday’s excellent 3-1 victory at home to Harlow Town.

It was their fifth win in seven home matches and Rothery’s second straight league success, after starting with a 2-1 triumph at Harrow Borough.

The R’s boss hopes to assemble a squad capable of sticking together and progressing into the National League.

But even if they don’t make it collectively, he believes he has individuals at his disposal capable of testing themselves at the higher level.

“From my point of view, I want young players who are hungry, full of desire and determined to move up to the next level – hopefully with Brightlingsea,” he told the Gazette.

“It’s important to have that ambition.

“(Former Regent striker) Tom Richardson is a good example.

“He was here for 18 months and now he’s playing Conference South football with East Thurrock.

“This level of football is a massive window for players. It’s a window of opportunity.

“I know a lot of scouts come to these games and if you do well for Brightlingsea, who knows what’s round the corner?”

Rothery believes his first two recruits fit that mould of young, talented players with the potential to make the step up.

Midfielder Jake Turner and wide man Sam Ashford both caught the eye in Saturday’s victory.

“When I arrived as manager, the first thing I did was put in seven-day approaches for Sam and JT (Turner),” said Rothery.

“I wanted to get them through the door straight away and both were among our better players at the weekend.

“They’re young players and their futures could be here for the next four, five or six years. However long they want to be here.”

After falling behind against Harlow, Regent stormed back thanks to goals from Billy Hunt and Aaron Condon.

Turner then applied the finishing touch with a stunning free-kick on the hour-mark.

“I felt I got a good tune out of the players in my first game, at Harrow, but was then disappointed with the Trophy performance at Thamesmead,” said Rothery.

“I thought we played really well again on Saturday, though.

“Even when we fell behind after conceding a sloppy goal, I still felt we’d done well up to that point.

“We defended well – I can’t think of any other clear-cut chances they had after scoring – and going forward we looked very good, especially in the rest of the first half.

“We were very pacey and very fluid.

“We scored two and maybe could have had one or two more.

“The second half was a bit more scrappy but we managed the game really well. We took the heat out of it.

“Maybe we could have picked them off a bit better but overall it was a very good performance. I was really pleased.”

Regent were in Essex Senior Cup third-round action at Aveley – managed by former boss James Webster – on Monday night and lost 1-0.

MALDON AND TIPTREE have a Velocity Trophy second-round tie at home to Billericay Town tonight.

Kick-off is at 7.45pm.