Hythe Town are heading into the new league season without any pressure, according to boss Steve Watt.
He’s confident they can put behind them a difficult campaign which saw the Cannons teetering just above the relegation places in Isthmian South East.
Just four players who were at the club last season started as Hythe won 1-0 in the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round at AFC Varndenians last Saturday.
Watt said: “I said to the boys coming in, there is no pressure on this club.
“The club just survived last year by the skin of its teeth, when I was there previously we were just outside the play-offs with a game in hand and I like to think we can replicate that type of form.
“I think we have a team capable but we will have to see what happens.
"It is a tough league this year, lots of money spent by some teams, there will be games that are extremely tough.
“Some teams will be two or three times (bigger budget than) what we have and that poses problems but you have got what you have got, and fair play to these teams. I am sure they will have really good seasons but I think we will cause a few problems along the way.
“I have identified players and it is a case of gelling together.
"I know it was pre-season before but we have played nine games now and won seven, lost two. If we can replicate that kind of form in competitive games, we will have a good season.
“The main thing on Saturday was to get through, get that first win under the belt early and it leads us into this Saturday nicely.”
Hythe start their league campaign at Corinthian.
Victory in the FA Cup came thanks to Jack Steventon’s late strike, a scrappy goal in a crowded area. It might have been more for Hythe but one goal was enough.
Watt said: “I said to the boys afterwards, the objective was to win a game and they did it. That is our objective every game, it doesn’t have to look pretty, doesn’t have to be nice.
“They didn’t register a shot on target in 90 minutes so we were comfortable in that respect, but it was a difficult pitch.
"We struggled to get going first half but second half I don’t remember them getting out of their own half, really, until after we scored. We asked lots of questions second half and it could have been a lot more comfortable than 1-0.
“This is a new team, we have to learn as a team that things aren’t going to go well for 90 minutes, it is how we react and deal with things and the most important thing is we find ways to get a result.
“The one thing I thought about the team when we started to play competitive matches was could we win games ugly? On Saturday it was that, we didn’t play the best football in the world but we were good enough, created enough to win a game and we did.”
Hythe’s fixture against Sheppey on Tuesday will need to be rearranged as The Ites play their FA Cup replay against Athletic Newham that night.