Aylesbury FC manager Steve Bateman has switched his focus to planning for next season with the aim of promotion after committing his future to the club.
Following a successful first season in charge of the Moles, Bateman said he was ‘delighted’ to remain as manager as he looks to build on the club’s excellent 2014/15 campaign that saw FC reach the Division One Central play-offs.
Bateman’s next aim is to now make a push for the title and automatic promotion.
He said: “I am delighted to confirm that I will be continuing to build upon this year’s fantastic achievement of securing third place and have committed to managing Aylesbury FC next season.
“We’ve learnt a lot through the process and I will be looking to change things in the summer to freshen things up, but you need to do that anyway year on year – you need to build on the strong bits you’ve got and address what you consider your weaknesses, so we’ll take a week or two to reflect on that and go again.
“We’re already working off the field in terms of what we need – there are plans to refurbish the clubhouse, there are plans to spend money on the pitch and all of that.”
Aylesbury have already started work on ripping up their current pitch at Haywood Way with the intention of having a new one laid by the start of the 2015/16 season.
The club are also in the process of arranging some pre-season friendlies for July and August.
Bateman continued: “We’ve already got pre-season games earmarked so we’ll confirm those shortly and we’re very much in the planning stage for what will hopefully be another successful season next year.
“I’ll be looking to see how we can win the title next season, not just get the play-offs, but many of my colleagues will be looking to do the same.
“I believe the club has progressed a long way on and off the pitch this season and I know Danny and the board share and match my ambition and passion to move us to the next level, which is why I am more than happy to commit.”Steve Bateman
“I’ll be speaking to my players over the next few weeks and have an idea of what’s happening because inevitably one or two players will move on, whether that’s their decision or mine.
“I’m already working on one or two that I think can come in and strengthen and add to what we’ve got.”
Although promotion is still very much Bateman’s aim, the FC boss warned it will be much tougher next season, adding: “It will be very tough next season, probably tougher than this year.
“We’ll have more chance with Kettering being out of the equation but we won’t be underestimating the likes of Royston and you’d expect Rugby to come back into the picture, and Banbury have come down so they’ll be targeting a quick response.
“There are also the teams coming up, so there’ll be a lot of clubs with renewed optimism for various reasons and that’s why I’m so disappointed to miss out this year because we’ve missed a marvellous opportunity, we had a real chance to capitalise on making the play-offs but we’ve got to do it all again now.”
“While it was a fantastic achievement with the budget level we operate on, it doesn’t get any easier, but I’m not going to dwell on the disappointment and I’m already looking ahead because I think I’ve shown the people of Aylesbury that I’ve known how to get the club at the right end of the table and I’ll be looking to do that again.”
When it comes to adding to his squad, Bateman is confident the club’s recent rise up the leagues means they can attract the best local players which would help them achieve promotion, adding: “Aylesbury FC is now a much more attractive and progressive place for players to further their careers and be part of something exciting.”
“I believe the club has progressed a long way on and off the pitch this season and I know Danny and the board share and match my ambition and passion to move us to the next level, which is why I am more than happy to commit.
“We have shown this season that we can compete at the top end of this league and we’ll be looking to improve on that next year. Expectations have risen, including my own and the challenge for us all is to continue to move the club forward.”