Published: 06:00, 17 July 2019
Sam Denly believes Isthmian South East will be even stronger this season but is confident his Hythe side will challenge for promotion.
Seventh in each of the last three seasons, play-off qualification is the minimum requirement for the Cannons in 2019/20.
Denly knows Hythe’s rivals have improved but he hasn’t stood still in the close-season either.
“I think the league’s even stronger this year,” Denly said.
“You’ve got your local derbies but the teams that have come up and the teams that have come down are all decent teams who will have aspirations themselves.
“It’s going to be a very strong league and a difficult one to get out of. There’s a lot of teams already who have made some good signings and are probably gearing towards competing and being there or thereabouts at the end of the season.
“It’s going to be a very competitive league but it’s one I’m looking forward to being part of. We’ve got our own aspirations as a club, to be getting on and progressing. We’ve signed well this year and we’re not finished yet.
“We’ll see, there might be one or two that come in still but I’m happy with the squad I’ve got. It’s more than capable of competing at the right end of the table.”
Hythe start their campaign away to relegated Burgess Hill on August 17 before hosting Whitstable three days later.
They’ve been drawn away to Cray Wanderers in the FA Cup preliminary round and will also face Faversham and Whitehawk before the end of August.
Denly said: “There’s a lot of tough games in the league this year so I don’t think it mattered who we got first.
“But I’m not going to lie, the cups could have been a lot kinder to us. We’ve got Cray away in the FA Cup, which I don’t think could have been any harder, Hastings at home (in the FA Trophy) and Folkestone away in the Kent Senior Cup.”
Hythe are at home to Folkestone on Saturday with Rhys Bartlett, a young winger signed on loan from Tonbridge Angels, included in their squad.