Lancaster City boss Phil Brown is confident he can keep his squad together and build on a sixth-placed finish in the Evo-Stik First Division North.
The Dolly Blues completed their campaign with a 2-0 win at home to bottom side New Mills on Saturday as retiring captain Neil Marshall brought the curtain down on his City career.
Brown, who took over from Darren Peacock in October, said: “I said when we couldn’t make the play-offs that I wanted us to be the best of the rest and sixth just rounds off the season nicely.
“We’ve got a bit of momentum heading into pre-season with the lads believing in what we’re trying to do.
“There’s plenty of positivity ahead of next season and a confidence we can go a step further.”
Any improvement will rely on Brown keeping hold of some of his star man and adding to what he already has, something the Myerscough College head of football is confident he can do.
He said: “I’ve had a chat with the group as a whole and spoken to a few players individually.
“As far as I’m aware we’re looking okay.
“A couple of players have intimated they are looking forward to next season and have all but agreed terms.
“A couple of players are maybe going to take time to reflect which isn’t a negative it’s just par for the course after a long season.
“I know some players are going to be attracting interest from a higher level and I’ve gone on record as saying I’d never stand in anyone’s way if it gives them decent progression.
“I’m not aware of anyone being head hunted but it wouldn’t surprise me if they are.”
Brown was also keen to pay homage to retiring skipper Marshall, who played his final City game on Saturday having decided to hang up his boots due to an ongoing battle with cancer.
The City boss was also in attendance at Marshall’s testimonial on Tuesday as a near 1,000 crowd packed into Giant Axe to watch at Lancaster City Select XI take on a Liverpool Legends and Guests side headed by Alan Kennedy and Phil Neal.
Brown said: “I think the crowd and the night in general reflected what people think of him as a player and a person.”
“I was really made up for him with the amount of people that turned up on and off the pitch.
“His loyalty and commitment in this day and age is unprecedented.”