Alex Pike says Gosport Borough can be the surprise package of the Southern Premier League – and challenge for a play-off place.
The Borough boss led his side to south & west division play-off glory last season as they finally secured promotion to step three of the non-league pyramid.
And after adding a trio of new signings to his squad this week, Pike already has one eye on joining the Hawks at Blue Square Bet South level.
Having acquired James Coutts from AFC Totton, Pike then added former Pompey, Reading and Hawks midfielder Sammy Igoe to his squad.
That was before he raided Five Heads Park for 6ft 3in striker Chamal Fenelon while Horndean boss Dave Carter was on holiday in Florida.
After spending his summer travelling thousands of miles in an effort to strengthen what he considers one of the strongest squads at Southern League level, Pike is still on the hunt for more reinforcements.
That could see him bring in several more new faces before the busy pre-season schedule of matches gets under way.
Pike said: ‘It would be wrong for me to say we won’t add any more players to the squad before the season gets going.
‘If quality becomes available at short notice, we at Gosport Borough must be prepared to get our foot in the door first.
‘That’s the way forward.
‘The chairman and directors continue to back my plans for the club and I pride myself that in my time here we have stepped up from the Wessex League to the Southern Premier League.
‘And we are far from finished.
‘I’m not going on record to say we will win the championship this season.
‘But I see no reason why we cannot challenge for a top-four or five spot to earn a slot in the play-offs.’
Pike believes that the quality of players Borough are bringing in is a real statement of intent ahead of the new campaign.
He added: ‘Chamal Fenelon is a striker in the old-fashioned mould and will be a real handful for any of the central defenders he comes up against this season.
‘And for players of the calibre of Sammy Igoe to want to link up with Borough for the right reasons – future success – just proves to me where the club is heading.
‘Before we start our league season we have a lengthy list of friendly matches to try this and that.
‘And I know that everyone involved at the club can’t wait to get going.
‘Provided the side battle away as I know they can, we all could enjoy another successful season.’