Haywards Heath Town manager Shaun Saunders is looking forward to life in the Bostik League South and is backing his squad to stay up next season.
Speaking after his side’s 4-0 Peter Bentley Challenge Cup victory over Horsham YMCA in the final, Saunders said he wanted to keep the faith with his current players and they deserved the opportunity to play at a higher level.
Saunders said: “There’s a lot of people living in Haywards Heath and we’re a side that they can be very proud of. It’s going to be a big challenge next season, but I think we are a side that is more than up to it.
“I certainly won’t be showing anyone the door. They’ve got the opportunity and the right to play at that level so if they want to stick at it, they can give it a go and keep them all together.”
Saunders also recognises there will a leap in quality in teams his side will face next season but feels that his squad’s mix of youth and experience will serve his team well.
He added: “We’ve got good experience and we have youngsters that are going to be really good.
“All in all, we’ve got a bit of everything. We know how difficult it’s going to be next season.
“We won’t be taking it lightly, but we’ll have a little break now and we’ll get back at it and we’ll work really hard to make sure that we can give a good account of ourselves.”
Saunders also feels his side can play with freedom as this will be the first time his players will be playing without expectation.
Saunders said: “There’s no pressure on us for the first time in the three years that I’ve been here.
“We’ve got to where we want to be, and we know we’re going to lose games, but if we win more than we lose and give a good account of ourselves and we’re still in that league this time
next year it’ll be a great season.
“There’s a lot of people living in Haywards Heath and we’re a side that they can be very proud of.
“It’s going to be a big challenge next season, but I think we are a side that is more than up to it.”