MANAGER Steve Cuss admits there will be no marquee signings at Wimborne Town this summer but remains confident his diminished squad can compete in Southern South & West.

Magpies revealed at the end of April that they would operate with a “significantly reduced” playing budget this season following chairman Paul Miller's decision to quit the board for personal reasons.

Having captured the likes of Mark Gamble and James Stokoe from Bashley 12 months ago, Miller targeted a play-off place but Wimborne rarely troubled the top five in a stop-start campaign and finished 13th.

Departing players were steadily replaced with the club's youngsters during the final few weeks of the season, a situation that Cuss conceded was unlikely to change this time round.

The Wimborne boss told the Daily Echo: “The club have to be realistic in terms of what they can afford. The budget had to be reduced and I fully accept that but from my point of view, things will continue in exactly the same way.

“Our priority was to get the senior players from last season signed and I was pleased to hold onto the 12 we finished the season with. Beyond that, we will be working with a much-reduced squad.

“As we have done before, we will scour the leagues below us and look to pick up players who fancy testing themselves at a higher level.

“We haven't set targets and I don't look that far ahead to be honest. Looking at next season as a whole, we just want to keep improving and that's what we will try to achieve week by week.

“I think we will need a little bit of luck along the way because we're going into it with only 12 players with real experience of this level. Three or four injuries will leave us stretched but if we can keep people fit and find a couple of others then we can be competitive.”

Asked whether there was any scope in the budget for a bigger name, Cuss said: “No there isn't. There won't be a major signing as such or anybody coming in from a higher level and that's just the situation we're in at the moment.”

Former Cherries youngster Brad Strickland, who finished last season with Bashley, ex-Hamworthy United defender Tom Biles, untried rookie Andy Powell and reserve midfielder Steve Moore are trying to work their way into Cuss's plans.

Cuss added: “We have got a couple of trialists who have impressed at various points so we will see how they develop over the next week.

"We're being patient with that and from their point of view, they're having a look at us as well so we'll see how it goes.”