BOSS Tom Killick is hoping that the togetherness of his squad will help Poole Town bridge the gap caused by superior financial resources of their Southern League rivals.

Ahead of their Southern League Premier South opener away at Gosport Borough this Saturday (3pm kick-off), Killick told the Daily Echo that there is a heightened sense of excitement ahead of the new campaign.

“It’s been so long that everyone is looking forward to playing again, having competitive matches,” said Killick.

“A bit of an atmosphere and a few people watching. I think everyone is really excited about that.

“We’re very excited about the start of the season, much more so than is normally the case - I think because the break has been much longer.”

Despite the stop-start nature of the previous two seasons the squad at the Black Gold Stadium remains relatively unchanged – partly influenced by limited resources but also a sense of loyalty, according to Killick.

“One thing that we do have is a very tight group," he said.

"We don’t make big changes, we try and keep players for as long as possible. People might not see this great benefit in the fact that I’ve been here so long but one of the things you do get is longevity in terms of players.

“When you have a change of manager, that often brings about wholesale changes with players. Because I’ve been here a long time, a lot of our players have been here a long time. That creates a strong attachment amongst the group, and an affinity to the club, which is always a good thing.

“Whereas at a lot of clubs, its in-and-out, in-and-out – going wherever the money is, who’s the manager – it’s just a revolving door.

“We haven’t had that, and I hope it counts for something, in terms of the spirit it generates.”

Entering his 18th season at the helm with four promotions under his belt, Killick is wary of the big-hitters in the division, but stills backs his squad to do well.

“As I say, we’re quietly confident in what we can do," said the Dolphins boss.

“I think we’re looking relatively solid, but when you look at the competition in the league – I was going through the league the other day, and I worked out there is probably 11 teams that will genuinely hope to be promoted, hope to be in top five – and all strongly resourced in terms of their finances.

“The competition is very powerful, so I think it is important that we are as strong as possible, because we have to be if we’re going to be competitive. But, we’re quietly confident that if we have a bit of luck and our key players keep injury-free and are in-form, we will be at the very least competitive.

“People will have to be realistic with the teams around us. We want to fight and give it our best shot and be around the top of the league, but have we got a divine right to be in the top five? Probably not. Financially are we in the top seven teams? Certainly not. We don’t want to lower our own standards, we want to have a go, and that’s what we’ll do.”

Killick includes Poole’s opening day opponents in the promotion hunt, saying: “Gosport, without being disrespectful towards them, have massively underachieved over the last couple of years. When you look at the financial resources they’ve thrown at it, you’d imagine there’s going to come a point when they punch their weight, they’re going to be strong opponents.

“But you’ve got Hayes & Yeading, Truro, Taunton, Salisbury – the list goes on. They’re just one of many powerful opponents. We’re away from home first game of the season – it couldn’t get much harder.”

With Killick boasting an impressive opening day record of 14 wins out of 17 as Poole boss, the former Non-League Player of the Year stated how important a strong start is for any promotion aspirations.

“I think starting a season strongly is so important because you have a lot of games," he said.

"You have quite a few midweek games, you have your cup competitions – so if you start poorly, financially it can have repercussions.

“In terms of the league, If you’re behind the Truros, the Tauntons, it’s very difficult on a level playing field, but if you’re 10 points behind and trying to claw it back, that’s going to be a very tough task.

“So, I think it’s important that we try and start well.”

Elsewhere in the division, James Stokoe's Wimborne Town begin their campaign at home against Taunton Town (3pm)>