Melton Town manager Tom Manship is demanding further progress as they seek improvement on last season’s “successful failure”.
Town kick off at home to Burton Park Wanderers on Saturday (3pm) and supporters’ expectations will be high following last season’s near-miss with promotion and their run to the County Senior Cup final.
And while Manship is mindful not to burden his squad with targets, he wants the club to build on the rapid forward momentum of his debut season at the club.
“If we ever stand still that’s when I will take action,” he said.
“I’m hoping for bigger crowds, better off-the-field and better on-the-field - that’s where I want to be.
He added: “I’d sum up last season as a successful failure, a bit like Spurs.
“They reached the Champions League final and pushed all the way in the Premier.
“We had a great season, but fell short on everything we would have done.
“We were a brand new squad of 20 or 21, got to a cup final and finished third.
“I’m not going to put pressure on the players this year and say we are going to get promotion or win the league, but our targets are to keep moving forward in crowds, in players, in facilities.”
Manship takes sole charge this season following the departure of co-manager Jon Stevenson to a coaching role in the United States amid a general parting of the ways.
The management team is bolstered by the return of Edi Appleton who will take over as assistant following a spell at Harrowby United.
“He is a different character to me who will add to the group,” Manship added.
“He will say what he thinks, but he is also a very positive person.”
But on the pitch, only minor tweaks were needed to a largely unaltered high-quality playing squad.
Aside from full-backs Nathan Benjamin (St Andrew’s) and Sam Beevers (Barrow), three of the five recruits bolster a forward line which scored 105 goals in the league last season.
They include Zac Munton, in from Bourne, Ashley Day, who formed part of Anstey Nomads’ prolific four-pronged attack last season, and Holwell’s promising young winger Tom Harris.
“I have known Ash from my time at Gresley,” said Manship.
“He contacted me wanting to come in and I was happy to help.
“Tom has pace and every time he looks up with the ball you feel something will happen.
“But the thing that has impressed me most is his character – he has been brave.
“He realises he may not walk straight into the team, but is happy to wait his turn and earn his place.”
Manship has intentionally packed the pre-season with fixtures against higher-league opponents, including last Thursday’s thrilling 5-4 win over a Notts County XI.
The schedule concluded with a gentler challenge with the visit of local Senior League side Asfordby FC on Tuesday, which ended 9-0 to the hosts.
“We are more settled with the squad this pre-season and I’m really happy with how it has gone,” Manship added.
“It’s going to be a marathon, not a sprint. Every game we go into we will prepare to get a result from it.”