As he passed the baton to Joey Barton, one of John Sheridan’s final messages to the Fleetwood Town squad was: You are too good for a relegation battle.
Having inherited a side teetering above the drop zone in February after an eight-match losing run, Sheridan won six of his 13 games as head coach to steer Town to a 14th-placed finish.
Barton will take on his first ever managerial role within three weeks, when his ban from football for breach of FA betting rules expires.
And even before any new additions are made to the squad, Sheridan says the crop he will pass on to Barton is too good to battle at the wrong end of the table again and should do well in 2018/19.
He said: “I told them in the dressing room that with what is in here, in this squad, you should not be fighting to avoid relegation.
“They know they need to do a lot better. They should not be down there near the wrong end of the table.
“The new manager has got a good squad of players to come in and work with, and I’m sure they will do very well next season.”
Sheridan received a standing ovation when he said goodbye to fans following the 2-0 home win over Walsall on the final day of the League One season.
The former Oldham and Plymouth boss added: “They have been right behind the team since I have been here, 100 per cent.
“I’m pleased for them and pleased for everyone associated with the club that we stayed up.
“Hopefully better things are round the corner next season.
“Everyone made me feel very welcome – the coaches, the staff, everyone around the place ... but the players more than anyone.
“It was difficult. They were having a bad time and losing games but from day one against Milton Keynes we hit the ground running.
“I felt after the Oxford game we were safe with four games to go.
“I enjoyed my time here. It was about getting points on the board. We drew the first three games but I felt we should have won two of them.
“In the first couple of games, against Milton Keynes and Plymouth, we went a goal behind but the response from the players was really good.
“I could see there was a bit of fight and desire to get the points we needed.
“From day one the players got used to me, and I’m chuffed to bits that we ended up getting what we wanted and staying in the division.”