NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Chatteris Town up for the challenge as boss Taylor eyes Kershaw Premier Division prize

Ashley Taylor believes his Chatteris Town side are Kershaw Premier Division promotion contenders.

Ashley Taylor believes his Chatteris Town side are Kershaw Premier Division promotion contenders. - Credit: Archant

For Chatteris Town Football Club, success has not been in short supply in recent times.

The Lilies won promotion to the Kershaw Premier Division alongside winning three county cups during the 2015-16 season, the most impressive victory coming against higher-league Great Shelford in the Cliff Bullen Challenge Cup.

Since then, they have adapted to life at Step 7 comfortably, finishing fifth in their first term back at that level since 2013.

And manager Ashley Taylor, who made a swift return to management after leaving his current post in May, has his sights set on further progress after the club’s promotion plans were foiled last season due to not meeting ground regulations.

“This season is promotion; that is what we’re looking for,” he said.

“We applied last year and we were in a position where we could have gone up.

“Again, we have to finish top five but then that means any team above us has not applied for promotion.

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“I know Eaton Socon are applying and Lakenheath are too, so really we have got to look to finish in the top three to get promoted.

“From a ground point-of-view, there is not much to do. All we have got to do is get a turnstile and we are pretty much there.

“I think the league this year is going to be stronger than last year. I think there will be five or six teams that have got a shout, including ourselves, so it is going to make it more interesting.”

Town have made five new signings during pre-season and when asked about how the team is looking for the season ahead, Taylor felt pleased with its depth.

“I think I have got the strongest squad that I have had since being a manager,” he said.

“Last year, we were unlucky with injuries and there were times where we had one or two on the bench and our it wasn’t the strongest.

“This year, we’ve got a really strong group of 16 to 18 players, so competition for places is good.

“We have nearly got two players for every position, which hopefully gets the best out of players. They know they would have to push themselves to stay in the team.”

The Lilies begin the new season with a tricky home fixture against Eaton Socon on Tuesday (7.45pm), who finished just one place above Town last season.