TOM Killick has backed Weymouth to pose a serious threat in this season’s title race after claiming Poole’s move for an unnamed player had been gazumped by their Dorset rivals.

Bookmakers have touted both the Dolphins and the Terras as contenders for the Southern League Premier Division crown with St Neots Town installed as warm favourites in the betting.

The Saints have caught the eye with a heavy recruitment drive this summer, their most notable captures being prolific strike partnership Chris Dillon and Drew Roberts from play-off finalists Chesham United.

But Killick believes that Weymouth will prove just as powerful as their Cambridgeshire counterparts before reiterating his determination to ensure Poole will be in the race for top spot.

Discussing the title race after the pre-season betting had been released, Killick told the Daily Echo: “Financially speaking, St Neots and Weymouth are the big guns and will be very difficult to stop.

“I recently tried to sign a player who Weymouth were in for and we were not able to offer anything close to what they did. With the resources they have at their disposal, their status as one of the favourites does not surprise me.

“When we went to St Neots last season, their chairman said that they were planning a promotion push this time. To go from where they were last season to winning the title would be a significant jump but from what we've heard, they have done good business.

“Hungerford are always strong and Dorchester now seem to be in a better place financially. They have players like Jamie Gleeson, Nick Crittenden, Ben Joyce and Nathan Walker who would hold their own in the Conference South and could be a dark horse.

“It will be tough but I still feel we should be fighting to win it. That has always been my mentality and the one I have tried to instil into the club. I would rather look at it like that than wheel out the widely accepted line of playing it all down.

“We need to be in the play-offs as a minimum requirement and the likes of Hungerford, Dorchester and one or two others will probably share that expectation.”

Meanwhile, Killick expects to complete the signing of trialist Luke Roberts within the week.

The former AFC Totton frontrunner, voted supporters’ player of the year at the Testwood Stadium last season, has impressed in recent friendlies against Hamworthy United and Gosport Borough.

Killick said: “Luke has a lot of ability and pace. Physically, he needs to develop a little but he is a player with great potential and I am optimistic he will do well for us.

“On his day, he causes opposing teams plenty of problems and with him starting at Bournemouth University in September, it is an ideal move for everyone.”