DAVE Ferris is warning his Chippenham Park side that improving on their debut season in the Toolstation League First Division could be tougher than they think.

The Hardenhuish Park outfit secured a respectable tenth-placed finish in their first campaign following promotion from the Wiltshire League but manager Ferris reckons that the middle chapter of his ‘three-year plan’ could prove the most testing.

“I said to the lads at the start of last season that we had a bit of a three-year plan. First season, we set ourselves a goal of finishing between eighth and 12th and we were tenth,” said Ferris.

“Last year, we learned a lot in the first half of the season, which we proved in the second half of the season by finishing so well. This year, I believe will be a lot harder.

“A lot of the teams will know what we’re about. Last year, there was a lot of buzz going on because it was a new league and everything like that and I think that, although it won’t be hard to motivate the lads, the second season can end up being a damp squib if you’re not too careful.

“We feel we’ve got a lot more hard work to do this year. Last year, we could motivate them just by saying ‘it’s the Western League, boys ’. I think we’ll find out a little bit more about ourselves this year.

“The third year could be very good for us, provided we can keep the lads together.

“The first game we’ve got is Wincanton away and they’ve got to be one of the favourites to win the league this season.

“Pre-season has been going very well but the only disappointing part is that of the first four friendlies we organised, two teams (Shortwood United Reserves and Horndean) pulled out at the last minute.”

Park have snapped up goalkeeper Lewis Porter and defender Ollie Webb from Bradford Town, with another defender, Nathan Phillimore, joining from Corsham Town.

Ferris has also recruited former Bradford and Frome Town forward Martin Johnson.