Boss Paul Marshall reckons his Tadcaster Albion side are two players short of a promotion challenge after an ‘interesting’ season.
Albion ended their NCEL Premier season with an entertaining 4-3 defeat to second-placed Brighouse Town on Saturday.
The result left Albion fourth on 77 points but Retford United and Pickering Town could leapfrog them in their remaining matches.
Marshall expects his young squad to integrate further next season after an emphatic overhaul earlier this year.
And he revealed he has already contacted three players, an attacking left-winger, a central midfielder and a striker, with a view of signing them next season.
“It is nice to have a rest for a couple of weeks but it doesn’t stop for long,” said Marshall.
“I’ve already been talking to a couple of players.
“Most of the squad are staying . There will be one or two departures. But we only need two or three players in our squad to challenge next season, two experienced players.”
Scott McCrory, Kyle Hawthorne, Jason Mycoe and Chris Youlden joined mid-season from Staveley Miners Welfare and the gaffer said they were keen to sign on again.
Albion used five goalkeepers this season but Marshall reckons, in 19-year-old Leon Wriggleworth, he has finally found a secure number one.
He said: “We will be top three or four minimum next year. There will be a lot of teams chasing and it is the hardest league in England to get out of.
“Brighouse have ended with 97 points which is one hell of an effort. But we played them on Saturday and we weren’t a million miles away.”
The club’s leading scorer Steve Jeff slotted home two penalties against Brighouse and Kyle Hawthorne added a third to equalise in the second half.
But a fine late strike from Town’s Ryan Hall stole the three points at the 2inspire Stadium.
Marshall questioned the referee’s performance after he failed to send the Town ‘keeper off when giving a penalty.
He said: “It was quite end to end. They had the better of the first half with the help of decent refereeing decisions. We were all over them in the second half but their winner was a great goal.
“Three goals were influenced by the referee. Little things went against us.”
Steve Jeff’s double took the left-back to 17 for the season and his gaffer paid him credit as a “great professional”.
Reflecting on his team’s “interesting season”, Marshall highlighted the club’s FA Cup run which earned £10,000.
He said: “To play Boston United in the third qualifying round was excellent. My favourite moment was beating Skelmersdale 4-1.
“It is the best we have played and for a team that has won the league above it comfortably shows how well we played on that day.
“The FA Vase loss was a low point though. I wanted to have a run in that as I never have. Next season I will be targeting a run.”
The club will hold a testimonial day for Danny Pitts and Paul James on May 11.
Tadcaster East play Tadcaster West at 11am before a Paul James Celebrity XI will play Danny Pitts Celebrity XI at 2pm.
Albion’s club presentation is at 4pm before the FA Cup final will be shown.
All are welcome and proceeds are going to Pitts and James.