BOSS Tom Killick admitted Poole Town were finding it tough to compete with higher-level clubs after missing out on three top transfer targets.

Killick revealed that Dolphins had been turned down by Nathaniel Sherborne, Richard Gillespie and Carl Pettefer so far this summer.

The Poole manager confirmed he had been aiming to boost his promotion-chasing squad with the signings of the talented trio.

But prolific striker Sherborne and ex-professional midfielder Pettefer opted to stay at AFC Totton and penned new contracts.

Former Bashley marksman Gillespie chose to rejoin forces with Steve Riley by joining the Stags from Eastleigh.

Poole missed out on promotion to the Southern Premier last term when they were beaten in the play-off final by Gosport Borough.

That has left the Division One South & West outfit trying to fend off competition from higher-levels clubs for potential recruits.

Killick explained: “Nathaniel had offers from Dorchester, Totton, Gosport and Winchester City so I think this is an example of what we are up against.

“Other than Winchester, all the other clubs are at a higher level and this is what we are finding.”

But Killick is refusing to panic and insists he is happy to be patient in his search to secure “one or two” new faces.

He added: “I am not overly concerned because, ultimately, there are quite a lot of young players setting their sights high with trials at professional clubs and, invariably, there is a filtering down process.”