Jul 19 2012 By Greg Burns
ANDY Leese believes his Chesham United side are in great shape as they prepare to start of their pre-season campaign this weekend.
The Generals are third favourites to claim the Southern Premier League title, behind Cambridge City and Stourbridge, and automatic promotion to Blue Square South.
After a play-off semi-final defeat in May, the club is determined to continue improving and kick-off pre-season at Waltham Abbey on Saturday before Leese and assistant Jon Meakes head back to former club Cheshunt on Tuesday night.
Despite being fancied by bookmakers, Leese believes the division will be as fiercely-contested as ever.
"I think the league will be very similar this season," he said. "The top five last season will probably be there again, and I include ourselves in that, but there are teams like St Neots who I believe have a big playing budget this year who will be involved.
"Kettering are obviously coming down with a points deduction but they have an experienced manager and teams like St Albans and Chippenham have brought in experienced players to make the difference.
"For us to finish fourth last season was an excellent effort and the players have the desire and the experience to go one better. We were 12 points off top spot last year so we need to try and close that gap."
Leese is hoping to secure a deal to sign another forward this week after beating competition to sign Michael Chennells from Windsor and with Brad Wadkins leaving the club and Leon Archer lining up a move away from The Meadow to play closer to home.
"We are almost there with the squad to be honest," said Leese. "Most of the squad has come back and that is a sign that they still believe in each other and don't think they have come as far as they can as a group.
"We do need some goalscoring options and will be looking to add some players in that area."