Heath backs AFC to be competitive in Southern League

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AFC Dunstable boss Steve Heath has backed his side to be ‘competitive’ in their first venture into the Southern League next season.

The Creasey Park team won promotion to Division One Central after lifting the SSML Premier title last term and will now come up against the likes of Farnborough and Histon, both who were plying their trade in the Conference not so long ago.

However Heath, who confirmed he has been able to keep the squad that achieved such success together, said: “My main priority was to keep the squad together, because quite a lot of the players have put themselves in the shop window.

“As things stand, it’s going quite well. I’m still waiting for a couple of confirmations from players but we’ve definitely retained at this moment in time, 90 per cent of the squad from last year, which is good.

“The squad we had last year I feel is good enough to be competitive in the league we’re going into.

“Once we’ve had confirmation of a couple of others, then we will be looking and we’ll bring maybe three players in just to strengthen the squad.

“But at the moment, the main priority has been keeping the players we had.

“We know it’s going to be tough, but we feel we’ve got enough to be competitive and hold our own in that league.”

Heath has already had to fight off a number of interested parties for his players too, adding: “We had interest from Christmas really, as a lot of players stayed quite loyal to the club last year.

“A couple of them had some offers, probably better financial offers, but my players, they’re quite a right knit group, which is good as it’s taken 18 months to get that.

“A lot of the players didn’t know each other before we put the squad together, but they’ve grown into a tight knit team, which is good to see.”