Jamie Howell says Dean Cox will be a "great" signing for the club after Eastbourne Borough kicked off their National League South campaign with an encouraging 0-0 draw at Oxford City.

Boss Howell handed debuts to centre-half Tom Gardiner and full-back Kristian Campbell while former Albion, Leyton Orient and Crawley livewire Cox was unable.

Borough had a difficult pre-season as a number of deals for centre-backs fell through but former Dartford defender Gardiner, 23, and ex-Bognor and Bromley left-back Campbell along with Cox were signed on Thursday night with the paperwork going through in time.

Dave Martin, Ryan Hall and Charlie Walker also made their debuts for Borough.

Howell said: "Dean is a great signing. The club have been brilliant.

"We thought he might be available and we were talking to him but I know he was talking to a lot of clubs as he is a good quality player.

"He's just had a baby, he lives in Haywards Heath and I think it all just fell into place and he will be a really good signing for us.

"We have been talking all summer about what we need and what we are going to do. It's taken longer than we anticipated but we're delighted to have them through the door, and we're looking forward to punching on."

Mark Smith made a late double save for Borough to preserve a point in a game of few clear chances.

Howell added: "It was a good performance. The lads worked really, really hard and we're delighted to come away with a clean sheet.

Tom and Kristian made their debuts, and as a backline with with Harry Ransom and Marvin Hamilton they were excellent.

"Keeping a clean sheet away at Oxford was great. It's all positive and gives us a platform to build on."