BRANTHAM Athletic joint-boss Matt Carmichael has high hopes for the new season – but insists it is important to have realistic expectations.

The Imps are being tipped as a team to watch in the Thurlow Nunn League, having finished fifth last term and capping their season by winning the League Cup silverware.

Carmichael hopes his side can build on their success and continue making progress but has vowed to keep his feet on the ground.

“We’re probably going to be seen as a bit of a scalp next season, because of the success we’ve enjoyed,” he said.

“But it’s important to be realistic in terms of expectations.

“Geographically, we’re from a tiny village and that means it’s always going to be difficult to compete with bigger sides with bigger budgets.

“There are some big hitters in our league and some of the signings we’ve seen elsewhere are on a different level.

“But we’ll keep learning and go into every single game believing we can win.

“That’s always our mentality and we’ll see where it takes us.”

Carmichael believes his squad has less experience than last term, having parted company with the likes of Michael Murray (injury) and Ben Newson (family commitments).

Midfielder Jack Smith will also be leaving at the end of next month to go travelling while goalkeeper Callum Robinson has joined Stowmarket Town.

On the flip side, Brantham have signed former FC Clacton and Coggeshall Town keeper Luke Avenell, centre-half Jack Marshall, midfielder Louie Newland and young guns Dan Rowe, Finn Hughes, Mason Lumley and Jack Madley.

“We’re going into this season with a real blend of youth and experience,” added Carmichael, who runs the side with Michael Brothers.

“We’ve lost four or five but we’ve also brought in four or five, including some 17 and 18-year-olds.

“Of the more senior lads to come in, Luke’s a very good goalkeeper – we all know what he’s capable of – and I’ve always rated Louie, even when I used to come up against him in Sunday League football.

“We’ve also signed some very good young players, although we can’t expect them to come in and play 50 games.

“They won’t be used to the intensity of our matches and they need to be managed and developed properly.

“They won’t have the physicality, mentality and game management of older, senior players but, on the flip side, they’ll bring a real youthful endeavour and vigour.” Brantham kick-off their Thurlow Nunn League campaign at Kirkley and Pakefield tomorrow, followed by a home match against Hadleigh United on Tuesday.