Bexhill United boss Ryan Light has stressed that ‘promotion is the goal’ this season, as they look to go up to the SCFL Premier Division.
Last season United missed out on promotion by just seven points. But Light expressed his desire to go one better this time round.
He said: “Having finished fourth we look to improve every year so if we were to do that, it would be good enough for promotion. So in terms of that, promotion is a goal of ours.”
Bexhill have done something rare for a team at County level this season. Typically the summer would see at least a handful of players leaving to join new clubs, meaning more would have to be bought in.
However Light and his team have not done this, and have impressively managed to retain the entire squad.
The boss added: “This year our recruitment policy was to only bring in players that are better than what we have already.
“But very few are, because we’ve got good players as we proved last year. So the main aim this year was to retain the players we had last year, and those players have had interest from clubs in higher leagues.
“We’ve retained the full squad which is really pleasing and somewhat unusual at this level of football.”
United have, however, still added a few fresh faces to their side, allowing some more valuable depth.
On this point Light said: “The new faces that have come in are younger players. Two of three have come in that have impressed us in the pre-season.”
Pre-season has been another success for the Pirates. For the second consecutive year they have managed to remain unbeaten during the summer months before the campaign gets up and running.
The manager however does not believe this has a substantial indication on how the season will go.
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He said: “We have played two teams from a higher league, two teams from a lower league, and a team from an equivalent league and we won four and drawn one. But it does not really have any bearing on Saturdays game.
“We won all our pre-season games last year but then lost at Alfold first game. But it has been positive and the performances have been really good.”
Light’s Pirates travel to Arundel on Saturday for their first game of the season. Nicknamed The Mullets, Arundel were relegated to the SCFL Division One last year, after being a Premier side for 19 years.
Simon Hull and his men will be looking to go straight back up and, with this in mind, Light knows that it will be a tough test for his men.
He added: “I think it is the toughest start we could have got.
“They’re a well run club, and they are one of the favourites to win the league, so we’re expecting a really tough afternoon.”
“I’d like it to come a bit later so we can see our way in first, but it is a real high profile opener. It should be two good teams having a real good battle.”