Gary Elphick praised his Worthing Football Club squad after their first season back in the Ryman League Premier Division came to a close on Saturday.
Ben Pope’s goal was not enough to prevent Worthing from falling to a 2-1 final day defeat at Tonbridge Angels.
The loss saw Worthing finish the campaign 15th in the standings, three points clear of fourth-bottom Harrow Borough and the final relegation spot.
After reaching the second-round of the FA Trophy and securing their Premier Division status, Worthing manager Elphick counts the season as a success.
He said: “I’d certainly have taken this if I was offered it at the start of the season.
“We’ve coped quite well in our first season back at this level and had some good runs during the course of the campaign.
“Beating Dagenham & Redbridge in the FA Trophy, a 14-game unbeaten run just after Christmas and other cup runs were the highlight for me.
“It’s now about making sure we capitalise and continue moving forward next season.”
Elphick will be in sole charge next season, as he was for the final four games of this season, after former joint manager Jon Meeney departed earlier this month.
The pair guided Worthing to promotion via the play-offs at the end of the previous campaign and Elphick praised Meeney for his work in their time together.
He added: “We had some really great runs this season and Jon played a major part in those aswell.
“We worked well in our time together and got some cracking results this season. The win at Dagenham was one we all enjoyed, a win that we got as a management duo.”
Preparations are already being put in place for next season with two Worthing players agreeing contract extensions in the past week.
Skipper Kane Wills has signed on for another season, while striker Lloyd Dawes has agreed a stay for the same duration.
Elphick sees pinning Worthing’s prized assets down as early as possible over the summer as crucial.
He said: “We want to make sure we get contracts done for next season as soon as we can.
“Kane’s had a great season, he’s our captain and I’m pleased he’s staying on for another season.
“Lloyd’s got 20-plus goals for us this season and again one we wanted to keep at the club.”
Elphick also revealed he’s looking to bolster his squad for the upcoming season. Calls have been placed already and he wants business out of the way nice and early.
Tom Cadman, who had a loan stint with Worthing from Brighton & Hove Albion to finish the season, has been released with Elphick hoping to sing him on a permanent basis.
He added: “Tom’s one I’d love to bring in next season. He may have aspirations of playing full-time but I’d love to get him on board.
“My phones been non-stop and I want business done nice and early this summer. I’m sure all other clubs are the same and it can be a fight for players, plus budgets can be an issue aswell.”
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