Burgess Hill are heading for the Dr Martens League.

That is the message announced by the club this week.

The Hillians have set a two-year plan to follow the lead shown by the likes of Eastbourne Borough and progress from the Sussex County League.

Such a move would involve a huge financial undertaking and also need the support of local residents but manager Gary Croydon has assured supporters the plan is no pipe dream.

He said: "What we are trying to do is to build on the Jim Collins and Alan Pook era at the club which was hugely successfully both on the playing side and off the pitch.

"We need to continue that and we have to make sure by the end of the season that the younger players are contracted to Burgess Hill and we are not losing players to other clubs.

"We have had the opportunity in the last five years to progress to the Southern League stage and we have not done so. We need to do that in the next two seasons.

"The support Time 24 has given us allows us to go forward on that front."

Time 24, the club's main sponsors, have agreed a new three-year deal with the club but Croydon, who is also a director of the club, says the majority of the funding for the project will come from Football Association grant and trust funds.

He said: "We went to Hereford in the FA Cup two years ago. If we had been able to achieve that this year the amount of money we would receive would be £40,000 which is a significant amount of money.

"There are funds available for grassroots football but clubs have to got to get their acts together."

Croydon said club officials have spoken to Eastbourne Borough to get advice on how they managed the step up from County League football.

He added: "If you look at Eastbourne Borough and us, we have won ten trophies in five years, they have won two. They have a ground which can take them to the Conference, we are still in the County League. We recognise now we are one step behind.

"Yes, it will cost £150,000 in the next two years but we feel very confident of being able to raise those funds and develop what is a pretty little ground.

"If there wasn't money available from the FA that would not be possible."

As well as money Burgess Hill need support from the community, most notably from local residents, who have objected to the club's floodlights at Leylands Park in the past. A 250-seater stand is the significant requirement for getting the ground up to Dr Martens League standard.

The club became a limited company during the summer and the three-man board also recognise the need for the club to maintain their standards on the pitch.

With that in mind, teenage striker Steve Harper and young goalkeeper Pat Gannon this week signed three-year contracts to tie themselves to the club.