Fleetwood Town head coach Uwe Rosler is anticipating a tougher, more competitive League One this season but says he will only reveal his targets for the campaign a week before the August 5 kick-off.
Back at work on the Fylde coast after their week in Austria, Town face three more friendlies before the opener against Rotherham at Highbury in little over a fortnight.
The Millers are one of the seven new teams in the division this season, having dropped down from the Championship with Blackburn and Rosler’s old club Wigan. Portsmouth, Plymouth, Doncaster and neighbours Blackpool have climbed from League Two.
And as Town prepare to face Bolton, the team that pipped them to automatic promotion last term, in a Highbury friendly on Saturday, Rosler says a repeat of the club’s historic fourth-placed finish is anything but a “God-given” certainty.
Rosler said of the competition: “You see the budgets they have; you see what sort of crowds they have; you see what sort of players they are in the market (for).
“We can’t keep a David Ball (who has joined Rotherham) through our finances, not because of football reasons or because we did not want him. (His move was) purely financial, so that makes it difficult.
“Then you see Portsmouth, with new owners and a crowd average of 18,000-20,000.
“They have double our budget, which means they can sign similar players or better players.
“Charlton and MK Dons underachieved last season – they will come (again). Bradford will too and Bristol Rovers will always be a threat.
“I think the league will be more competitive. I don’t there is a team that will (collapse like) Coventry.
“I think it will be tough and we can’t take our position from last season as a God- given for this season. Concrete targets I will give you a week before the season starts.
“We need to get 50 points as quickly as possible and then we look up. That is always the challenge for Fleetwood.
“Concrete targets I will give you a week before the season starts.”
When he arrived just days before last season started, Rosler spoke of his desire to install a top-six mentality at the club.
And the head coach says that to keep that mindset they have to work on it every day.
He added: “We achieved in a very short space of time a very good mentality, a working mentality, a togetherness in and around our dressing room.
“Of course we want to keep that up but we need to work on it. When we achieved that it is not given to us for the rest of our lives – we need to work on it every single day.
“That is the hard thing in sport – to reach a level and maintain a level over time.
“A lot of players reach a level and fall down. That is why a lot of players are in the Football League or National League. The best players who maintain high standards over a long time are Premier League players.
“What we need to get better in our profession – as players, coaches, everybody – is to maintain the high standards for as long as we can. That gives you a chance to reach another level.”