YATE Town are ‘in a much better place’ than they were at this time last season, believes manager Paul Britton.

As the Bluebells prepare to kick-off their Evo-Stik Southern League West campaign on Saturday, Britton said: “There were things which had to be resolved in and around the football club but now, on and off the pitch, there is a smile about the place and it’s a happier place than last season and before that.”

Yate languished down the wrong end of the table at the end of April after a campaign of transition. Britton, who took over from former boss Craig Laird at the back end of the 2015/16 season, had to rebuild the squad but with a long term vision for their future.

Now, while Yate do not expect to tear up the league and win promotion at a canter, there is a lot more optimism as they prepare for a step into the unknown and a trip to league newboys Kidlington this weekend.

Britton said: “The games come thick and fast over the next month or so and it’s important that we do not have the start we had last season where we got a point against Barnstaple and nothing for the rest of August.

“It took a while to get going last year so we are aiming to get a result against Kidlington but we know it will be difficult.

“We want to go as high as we can in the league but we have to be realistic. Our objective is about moving the club forward on the pitch and not standing still. We built a platform last season and we want to move on from there.”

This month, Yate will play Bideford at Lodge Road on Tuesday, followed by Wimborne Town away on August 26 and a derby against Mangotsfield United on August Bank Holiday Monday.

By then, Britton hopes to have Lee Bryan and George Box back in the fray with both out for this weekend. Bryan has a hamstring injury, and Box is suffering from an Achilles problem.

But with new strikers Ben Brooks and Sam Gregan aiming to bang in the goals, plus the return of Mitch Tippins and new signings Brad Abrahams and Brad Norris all fit and raring to go, there is plenty of strength in depth for Britton to choose from.

“It’s about keeping the momentum going. As a club, we are in a much better place than we were last season,” said the manager.