NEEDHAM Market manager Danny Laws has already targeted the Ryman League Division One North title next season to guarantee promotion, after suffering play-off final heartache.
The Marketmen suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat away to Enfield Town on Sunday at The Queen Elizabeth Stadium as Wallid Matata’s 17th minute headed winner sealed the host’s promotion to the Ryman League Premier Division.
It is the second time in as many seasons that Needham have missed out in the play-offs leaving the manager to believe that if his side are realistically going to gain promotion then they have to avoid the “lottery” of the play-offs and finish the season as out right champions.
“I honestly believe that if you have real aspirations of promotion then you need to win the league,” he said.
“I know Enfield have finished second and won the play-offs but they only got to the final through a penalty shoot out and it shows it can be a lottery.
“I don’t like that term because the best team have won but it could have been a lot different.
“What I have learnt from losing in the play-offs two years in a row is that getting in them doesn’t guarantee anything.
“Being in them is great and creates a lot of excitement but you need everything to go right for you and so I will be looking to go one better than that next time out.
“If I am going to get this team promoted out of this division then we will need to be out and out winners.
“We have been no where near good enough this campaign and so next season we will be looking to do better than just reaching the play-offs.”
Despite the defeat, Laws hailed the effort of his squad over the course of the campaign and spoke about their resilience to overcome adversity as he eluded to the fact that he will spend the close season considering the neccessary changes needed to his side.
“Despite the defeat I’m immensely proud of my players,” he added.
“I have learnt a lot this season, especially about my squads ability to come back from adversity and show a lot of resilience, it just a shame they couldn’t be rewarded for that with promotion.
“We have had to bounce back so much from adversity and time and time again the squad as a whole have done that and I am immensely proud about how they have seen this season through.
“We had some very bad spells of inconsistency but we bounced back and that is credit to those lads because what we have lacked in quality at times we have made up for it with endeavour.
“I have some thinking to do over the Summer regarding potential new recruitment of players but that will be done in the cold light of day, now is not the time.”