Paul Doswell’s message for Sutton United fans ahead of National League return: “Get ready for a good ride”

Paul Doswell is an excited football manager as he prepares to lead Sutton United into the Vanarama National League.

United will be competing in England’s fifth tier for the first time since 2000 having won the National League South in May, and the prospect of playing the established big guns already has him grinning with anticipation.

“Roll on August,” he said, ahead of their opening game at home to Solihull Moors next Saturday.

“The teams we are looking forward to seeing the most are the big teams.

“Tranmere Rovers is the obvious one, Wrexham, we are going to Lincoln in the first week and there will be about four or five thousand people there.

“It is so exciting for us compared to some of the away crowds you used to get in the Conference South.”

Sutton manager since 2008, Doswell knows the club’s immediate ambition will be to cement their promotion and he admits he is willing to sacrifice the cup competitions to achieve that goal.

“I think the realistic aim is to make sure we are in the division again next year,” he added.

“There are probably ten teams in that league that have got very, very big budgets that will expect to win the league and we are not one of them.

“I think every football club at our level would like a good FA Cup run because financially it is so important.

“But our main sort of thrust will be to make sure that we stay in this league. That is where our main concentration levels will certainly be aimed at.”

Since promotion, Doswell has kept the side largely intact and has so far enjoyed a good pre-season.

A 3-1 loss to a Fulham XI was followed by a 2-1 win over Portsmouth, a 1-1 draw with Kingstonian, a 1-0 win over a Crystal Palace XI and a 2-1 defeat to Hampton & Richmond on Tuesday.

With warm-up games still to come at home to Ebbsfleet United tomorrow and Tonbridge Angels on Tuesday, Doswell added: “We have done very well at the home games against Portsmouth and Crystal Palace and we had a fantastic game against Hampton & Richmond on Tuesday.

“It was a really competitive game I thought it was a cracking game to get us ready for the start of the season which is only eight days away now.”

Although he didn’t feature on Tuesday, Doswell praised midfielder Ross Stearn for the way he has returned to pre-season training.

He said: “Ross has come back and is absolutely flying in pre-season.

“He has been the stand out improved player for me so far.

“He has been fabulous and he deserves a lot of credit because he has not necessarily played at the next level up yet and he looks as though he is going to have a good season to me.”

And Doswell also had a message to United’s fans.

“Get ready for a good ride,” he said.

“We just cannot wait. We worked really hard to be given thsi opportunity.

“It’s probably the closest we are going to get to playing almost professional football and we feel we have earned the right to do that and we just cannot wait to get going.”

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