HEYBRIDGE Swifts have made two signings to strengthen the defence in advance of Saturday’s FA Cup first-round qualifying tie at Barking (3pm), writes JON LONGMAN.

Left-back Kyan Gulliver arrives back at Scraley Road having played for Brightlingsea as recently as last month’s 3-1 pre-season home victory over Coggeshall United.

Centre-back Jack Humphrey was playing alongside new Swifts captain George Craddock at Potters Bar Town.

Both new arrivals made their debuts as trialists in last Saturday’s 2-1 pre-season win over Ware and signed for the Swifts after the game.

Gulliver returns to Heybridge after playing for five Essex clubs in a busy career that has seen him wear the shirts of Tilbury, Stansted, Wivenhoe, Braintree Town and Swifts neighbours Maldon & Tiptree.

Humphrey has an excellent pedigree, having played for Leyton Orient, Tring Athletic, Welwyn Garden City, Histon and Maldon & Tiptree.

Swifts manager Stuart will recall leading scorer Jack Adlington-Pile who missed the Ware friendly with a minor leg injury.

Pile was involved in the pre-match warm up with keeper Luca Collins but was left out of the team as a precaution because of Swifts lack of attacking players.

“We did not want to risk Jack making the injury worse by playing last Saturday and then missing the cup tie at Barking,” said Swifts secretary Steve Crisp, who is on standby if the Swifts can find a striker before Friday’s FA Cup deadline for signing players.

Nethercott will decide on his team to face Barking after the Thursday night training session. His choices will depend on who he thinks will adapt their game best to playing on Barking’s new artificial pitch.

Academy players Kieran Jones and Joel Older, who came on as a second-half substitute, are likely to be on the bench after training with the first-team squad as Nethercott says he is committed to giving the youth players a chance to shine.

Defender Stuart Mott, signed from North Yorkshire side Tadcaster Albion, is set to resume training after sustaining a leg injury in training that has delayed his debut at the Swifts.

Mott is based at the Colchester Garrison and his role in the Army has moved him from York to Essex.

Crisp added: “Stuart has arrived at the Swifts having built up an excellent reputation while he was playing for the Yorkshire team so we look forward to seeing him play for the Swifts.”

Former Swifts captain Nick Brown, who has been sidelined for a season and a half following two operations on an ankle injury, is close to making a return and has been doing light training.

The tie at Barking will go straight to a penalty shoot-out if the scores are level on 90 minutes.

Swifts fans going to the game have been advised to arrive early at the Mayesbrook Park club because Barking’s car park is also being used as a Covid-19 testing station.