VAUXHALL manager Owen Brown believes his side can put last season's injury-plagued campaign behind them by reaching the play-offs, writes Gary Porter.
The Motormen boss is hoping his small squad can go through the season relatively unscathed as they look to make a big improvement on last term when they finished in 15th position.
He said: 'We should be setting a target of reaching the play-offs. Look at Altrincham last year. When we played them we were the better side, so if they can reach them then so can we.
'I don't want to put too much pressure on the lads so we'll simply be looking to do as well as we can, take every game as it comes and hopefully surprise a few people.'
He added: 'We've got to be realistic though, too, because you have to remember the club has the smallest average gates in the league, the smallest squad and the smallest wage bill.
'I hope God will be smiling on us this time because we had more than our share of injuries last season. We underachieved but it didn't help when we had six or seven players out with some out for long spells.'
After an excellent pre-season programme, Brown wants the Motormen to take this form into Saturday's tricky opener at Alfreton.
'It's going to be a tough test as they've made a lot of changes over the summer, but we're due a bit of luck against them. The last few games we've played really well but not got our reward.'
Chairman Alan Bartlam is calling on the people of Ellesmere Port to get down to Rivacre Park this season.
He said: 'This season will be one of the most important in the club's history and if we don't receive the support of the local footballing public, it will be hugely significant.
'In the last two seasons, average gates have fallen away. It's hard enough trying to compete with clubs attracting 1,000-plus gates without going backwards.
'We are now the most senior non-league club in 40 miles radius and Owen Brown has assembled a squad capable of chasing yet another promotion. I've made calls for support before to help us compete. Now it is essential if we are to move forward.'
Vauxhall will be without the suspended Mike Garrity and last season's top scorer Karl O'Donnell, who is still sidelined from an injury he picked up in the friendly win over Welshpool.