BOSS Tom Killick believes there could be as many as eight teams vying for top spot in Southern League South this season.

The Poole Town manager, whose side missed out on promotion via the play-offs last time out, is preparing for Dolphins’ first competitive fixture of the campaign at Farnborough on Saturday (3pm).

Gosport and Taunton are joint-favourites with the bookmakers to seal top spot and the one automatic promotion place in the division.

They are closely followed by the likes of Weston-super-Mare, Salisbury and Chesham – Poole are generally priced at around 14-1 to claim the title.

Assessing the race for promotion, manager Killick told the Daily Echo: “It’s so hard because there are so many big and well-resourced clubs that are all chasing the same dream.

“When you look at automatic promotion at our level it’s one place. You probably have eight teams who fancy their chances of getting that one place.

“Then if you fail, as we suffered first-hand – you have the painful experience of the play-offs. You are putting your whole season in the hands of fate.

“You have to go for the top spot there are an awful lot of clubs trying to do that.”

He added: “I think Gosport have invested hugely in terms of players. They have to be the financial powerhouses in the league by quite a long way – that has been reflected in their recruitment.

“You could say the same about Salisbury. Taunton were strong last year and they haven’t lost many people.

“There are always surprise packages but I expect to see Gosport, Taunton and Salisbury up there.

“Even more locally, Wimborne are obviously much stronger financially – you would think they would hope to fight in the top five or six.

“Dorchester are in a very different place financially than they have been in the past. They have to be looking at trying to fight in the top five.

“It’s exciting because a lot of the clubs I have mentioned are local.”