Ray Turner admits making the play-offs will be harder than ever for his Faversham side this season.
Town have recorded top-five finishes in Ryman League, Division 1 South in three of the last four seasons under Turner’s leadership.
But the league looks stronger this year with relegated Lewes, promoted Greenwich and fellow newcomers Cray – who played in the North division last season – all expected to challenge.
That’s not to mention Hastings, Hythe and Dorking who all finished last season in fine shape.
Turner said: “We’ve got a real job on our hands to get into the top five. It’s not just the financial aspect, everyone’s strengthened.
“It’s hard to predict the top five. It’s easy to lean towards the teams with the big resources but there’s teams that have been together quite a long time and that was the secret for Folkestone and Burgess Hill in the last two years.
“It was that continuity, not necessarily superstars but more a case of being a good team over 46 games. I know that’s more important than any stand-out individuals and we’re going to have to go that route.
“You can look on paper and say there’s sides stronger than us this year but we’ve dealt with that before and we’ll have to deal with that again.”
This will be Turner’s sixth season in charge at Salters Lane.
He said: “I don’t worry any less at the start of the season because you’re never quite sure where your team is until you get going.
“I’ve got that experience of not panicking and giving the team a bit of time. It’s knowing when you need an injection of freshness, when to change things and when to do nothing.
“A lot of managers are constantly bringing players in but there is a time and place to be calm and stick with what you’ve got.”