HOLYPORT manager Derek Sweetman believes Port have had a super season to finish in fourth position in Hellenic Division One East, writes Rob Stevens.

Sweetman is in the first season of his second spell at the Summerleaze club and targeted a top-four finish as an improvement on the previous campaign under then manager, Barry Rake.

He made the perfect start after winning the Hellenic Subsidiary Cup just two weeks into his reign, and then guided Port to fourth place having lost just once in the second half of the league season.

Sweetman attributes the success to the dedication his players have shown and their improvement despite an ever-growing injury list after the Christmas period.

He told the Observer: "The target at the start of the season was to break into the top four. That would've been great after last year.

"We were one point short of finishing third so overall the season has been a successful one when you take into account all that has gone on.

"Had we not lost here and there then we might have done a little better, but it's still a super season when you consider the amount of injuries we've had.

"We lost three in the first five games at the start, and three in 19 at the end, so that was a huge change with all the injuries we suffered after Christmas. We've only lost one at home in the league all season as well.

"There were always five or six injured or unavailable so from that point of view it was fantastic to keep on going and improving week on week for the chance to finish in the top four.

"The players have all been competitive and given their all, and that's one of the reasons we've finished in the top four. The lads have got on with it and always tried to play football."

On the Subsidiary Cup win, Sweetman added: "I only had two weeks to work with the boys so to hit the ground running and pick up some silverware early doors was fantastic."

Sweetman has acknowledged that the division will be more tough next season, but he is confident Port have enough about them to mount a promotion challenge.

He explained: "With the league restructure to come, it's going to be even tougher with the likes of Long Crendon, Marlow United and maybe Langley, plus one of the boys from the Premier Division.

"I expect it to be stronger but the lads have got enough about them for us to go forward and maybe challenge for the top three.

"One of the aims will be to win the league but that depends on incoming and out-going players, plus how good the other challenging sides are.

"All sides will say it will be a great season if we can win the league but that will be our objective at the start. It's one of those things that we will sit down and think about."