LITTLE Oakley manager Matt Carmichael believes his young players ooze class - and can become the very best in their league.

The Acorns boss has high hopes for the remainder of this season but already has an eye on the 2019/20 Thurlow Nunn League campaign.

He believes his exciting young squad can challenge for honours and emerge as one of the frontrunners in first division south.

"We're blessed with so many outstanding young players, especially in attacking positions," said Carmichael, whose side won 4-1 at Braintree Town Reserves on Saturday.

"Harry Mann is unplayable at times, Luke Mayhew could play a league or two higher and would probably be my player-of-the-season so far while Greg Rodger is a big, powerful lad who would run through brick walls.

"He's going to develop into a top player and reminds me a bit of Ricky Griggs, when he was coming through the ranks at Brightlingsea Regent.

"When we click, assuming we progress as I expect us to, we'll be the best team in the league.

"We've got something about us already and with a bit of tinkering, possibly adding a bit more experience, I believe we can reach the next level.

"We've got so much potential but, at the moment, we're still waiting for things to really click.

"Things are definitely coming together but it's still like a game of Tetris.

"Things are falling into place but I wouldn't say we've played to the best of our ability yet. We're not the finished article.

"It was always going to take time for new players to gel and for our young players to get used to this level."

Oakley are seventh in the table and only have seven fixtures left, starting with this weekend's home fixture with May and Baker.

After that they will have home dates with Burnham Ramblers, Holland FC and Frenford and trips to Fire United, Hackney Wick and neighbours Harwich and Parkeston.

"The top eight is very much our aim," added Carmichael.

"It's a bit crazy because of the disparity in terms of how many matches teams have played.

"Some of the sides around us have got five or six games in hand and while I'd always rather have the points on the board, it's going to be interesting to see how things pan out.

"There will be a few twists and turns along the way but, even so, I'd be surprised if we dropped out of the top ten at this stage.

"I think we're pretty much nailed on for that and I can't see us slipping lower, but the challenge for us is making sure we're in that top eight.

"I'd be more than happy with that and it would represent a very successful second-half of the season.

"When I took over as manager, the aim was to achieve a level of stability and not drop any further down the table.

"But if we could finish in the top eight, it would give everyone extra belief that we can push on and maybe crack the top four next year."

Mann (two), Stephen Polley and Mayhew scored the goals against Braintree.