Walton Casuals boss Neil Shipperley reckons signing frontman Charlie Ide means his men have a shot at reaching the Ryman League Division One South play-offs.
Ide quit the Stags for Blue Square South Bromley midwa y through last season, but has been persuaded to return to Waterside Stadium to spearhead a promotion push.
Shipperley’s men had threatened to break into the top five in February before a disaterous run-in saw them lose their last six games.
But the former Crystal Palace frontman, who bid farewell to Slough-bound centre-half Alex Brown this summer, believes reclaiming Ide is the first step in erasing that memory.
“Getting Charlie back is a massive plus for us,” he said.
“We lost him and Danny Buckle last season when we were in the hunt for the play-offs and we lost the heartbeat of the team.
“We are not going to dwell on the last six games. We’re hoping to keep the team together this year and I think we’ll be good enough to give it a go.”
Casuals drew two games with Northwood at Bisham Abbey on Saturday to kick-off their pre-season preparations.
Shipperley says he has good competition for places in his squad this term, but believes his efforts could yet be hamstrung unless the club establishes a reserve team.
“The club isn’t going to progress until they get that sorted. But it is one thing at a time at the moment,” he added.
“We cannot afford to put people on contracts so you always have the risk of losing people.
“If players aren’t getting games because they are not in the first team then they are not going to stick around, which always makes things hard.”
Casuals travel to Cobham for a friendly on Saturday.