ANTHONY McGrath says he is looking for a vast improvement in Essex Eagles’ fortunes in T20 cricket.

The Eagles missed out on a place in the quarter-finals of the T20 Blast last season, after failing to advance from the South Group.

And McGrath, who replaced Chris Silverwood as the head coach of Essex at the end of last year, is targeting a place in the knockout stages of the competition this time around.

McGrath, who acted as Silverwood’s assistant last term, said: “We’re looking to really improve on where we’ve been in the last couple of years.

“We’d love to get to a Finals Day. People told me about Chelmsford, how good the atmosphere is and it’s absolutely superb.

“We want to get the team together and put in some really good performances.”

The Eagles have strengthened their squad ahead of the new season.

Adam Zampa, a spin bowler who has featured heavily for Australia in the short-form of the game, has been signed specifically for the T20 campaign.

And McGrath admitted that he is excited by the addition of the 25-year-old.

The new head coach added: “I think it’s exciting with Adam Zampa, who is a mystery spinner coming in, and Matt Coles.

“I think we’ve got a good set of T20 players and we really need to perform to our potential now.”

Essex enjoyed a historic season in 2017, as they claimed the County Championship title for the first time in 25 years.

Despite only winning promotion to the top flight 12 months earlier, Essex went the entire season unbeaten.

However, seven defeats in the T20 Blast group stages hampered the club’s chances of achieving the double.

The Eagles will look to get the new term off to a flying start when they welcome Sussex Sharks to Chelmsford on Wednesday, July 4.

And McGrath is looking forward to leading his side in a host of derbies.

The former Yorkshire all-rounder confirmed: “We’ve got Sussex here first up and then Middlesex, Surrey and Kent. The derbies just keep on coming.

“They are fantastic games and even though we’ve not done so well in the last couple of years - we made the quarter-finals once - I’ve got some great memories from my first two years here under the lights of Chelmsford.

“It’s a cracking atmosphere and we want to go that step further this year and show what a good T20 team we are.”

And McGrath wants to attract more sell out crowds to Chelmsford.

“There’s nothing better (than a packed crowd at Chelmsford),” admitted the 42-year-old.

“They’re fantastic nights and if we can produce some winning cricket, it makes everyone happier.”