TOM Killick shouldered the blame for Poole Town’s promotion “failure” but vowed to deliver next season in his quest for Conference South football.

Dolphins’ chances of a top-five finish in the Southern Premier were all but ended by yesterday's 1-0 defeat to play-off rivals Cambridge City.

The dispiriting setback leaves Killick’s seventh-placed side four points shy of their target with two matches to play, the manager conceding it would take an “unbelievable sequence of results” to turn round their fortunes.

And while Killick recognised that “extreme fatigue” had been a significant factor following “a terribly punishing schedule” of 20 matches in 46 days, the boss felt he should have done more to address Poole’s shortcomings and reiterated his determination to get it right.

“I take full responsibility for our failure,” said Killick “I said from the outset that we should have reached the play-offs and I stand by that. We haven’t done it and that’s completely down to me.

“But I feel very similar to how I did after our play-off defeat to Gosport. I had a vision of what we needed to do to go one better then and I have got quite a clear picture in my mind as to what we need to do now.

“Our success has been built on energy and power and, with the benefit of hindsight, I should have tried to add a little bit more to give us a better chance.

“The first step is to retain the vast majority of the group we have, which won’t be easy as they’re all good players, and then it’s down to me to get the additions we need.

“The Conference South is where we want to be. From day one, I have aspired to getting the club into that league, even when we were playing in Wessex Two with ropes around the pitch.

“Failure drives me on. I remember failures much more than I remember successes and this one will stick in my mind.

“I can recall the Gosport game like it was yesterday. We used that as the fuel to go again the following season and we have to respond positively this time to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Killick continued: “We didn’t deserve to lose but credit to Cambridge, they defended very well.

“What saddened me the most was that we had rediscovered our form but had left ourselves in a position where one slip would knock us out of contention."

  • Poole play their penultimate game of the season against Bashley tomorrow (3pm).

Jamie Whisken returns after a one-match ban but Marvin Brooks is a doubt after being withdrawn through injury against Cambridge.