Chorley boss Matt Jansen is expecting another tough battle in the National League North – but has backed his men to challenge for promotion once again.
Jansen has kept together the core of the squad that just missed out in the play-offs.
Chorley lost 2-1 in the semi-final to eventual play-off final winners Harrogate last month.
Now Jansen is gearing up for the new season, and has already bolstered his squad.
And as Chorley prepare to battle it out with relegated sides Chester and Guiseley, and promoted teams Hereford, Ashton United and Altrincham, Jansen is expecting the league to be as tough as ever.
Jansen, who has been linked to roles in the higher divisions at his old club Carlisle and National League side Macclesfield, is gearing up for his fourth season as Chorley boss and he is expecting another battle: “I think the league does keep improving.
“There are a few more teams going full time, and you have got a number of strong sides coming up and down.
“So, for me it will be as tough as last season, if not more.”
Chorley have not been in the top tier of non-league, the National League, for nearly three decades.
And Jansen says the aim at the start of every season is to target that solitary automatic slot, not just aim for a play-off spot.
He said: “We start every season wanting to win the division automatically.
“There is little between a lot of the teams in our division.
“But if we go on a run like we did at the end of last season, there is no reason why we cannot challenge.”