TOM Killick has his sights set on replicating Poole Town's remarkable season after admitting the club had been forced to settle for second prize over their play-off appeal.
A home victory over Dartford tomorrow (3pm) would guarantee Dolphins fifth place in National South, although Dorset's highest-ranked non-league side would be unable to compete for promotion.
An independent regulatory commission on Wednesday upheld the National League's decision to bar Poole from the play-offs over the club's failure to have 500 seats under cover by the March 31 deadline.
However, Poole vice-chairman Chris Reeves confirmed the decision had been referred back to the FA Leagues Committee and the National League for “further consideration”.
And boss Killick revealed he hoped another strong campaign in 2017-18 would give Poole – crowned Southern League champions last term – the chance to earn promotion.
He told the Daily Echo: "Next year, it's going to be very difficult to replicate what we've done this year but that's what we're setting out to do.
"I would never lose sight of the fact it is going to take a monumental effort to be competing in the position we are now but I've got tremendous faith in this group of players.
"I think they have improved each season they have been together and I feel they are capable of improving further.
"They are all good players so it's not always easy but my ideal is to retain all of the players and see if I can add one or two, particularly attacking players."
Reflecting on the appeal verdict, Killick added: "From my point of view, there were three possible outcomes, one where we would be allowed to take part in the play-offs if we finished fifth, one where we would be unsuccessful in playing in the play-offs but for there to be recognition the rule needed to be reviewed and one where we were refused with no real prospect of a rule change.
"Whether we finish fifth or sixth, it has been an excellent effort on the players' part. Clearly, if the decision had gone in our favour, there would be a huge difference between finishing fifth and sixth. Now, that's not so much the case. It boils down to us wanting to finish on a high.
"Although the players have done really well, the past two or three weeks haven't gone as well as we would have hoped.
"The last game is the one you remember over the summer and you want to go out on a positive rather than a negative."
Abdulai Baggie (groin) has an outside chance of featuring at the Black Gold Stadium, while Will Spetch is hoping to recover from a back complaint.
Fourth-place Dartford have already secured their play-off berth and will hope to complete a league double over Killick's men.
Dolphins: (from) Hutchings, Tallack, Spetch, Whisken, Smeeton, Pettefer, Devlin, Burbidge, Cooper, Roberts, Brooks, Granger, Gale, Baggie, Richardson, Rees.