Whitehawk boss Steven King is in talks with up to five new signings as he looks to take the direct route to the top tier of non-league football.

The Hawks ended a terrific league campaign in 2014-15 by losing out in the Conference south play-off final.

King would love to lead his side to promotion next season, even though Hawks will be in an incredibly tough division against teams with budgets they cannot compete with.

But the Whitehawk chief is determined to build an even stronger side for 2015-16 to ensure his team are in the promotion shake-up again.

He has begun the rebuilding process by releasing five members of last season’s squad including Gambia international left-back Pa Saikou Kujabi, who played for Hibernian in the 2012 Scottish Cup final.

Former Barnet midfielder Ahmed Abdulla has also been let go along with one-time MK Dons striker Serge Makofo.

French midfielder Sylvestre Guyonnet and centre-back Frantz Tchonang, who was only an occasional member of the squad, have also gone.

Midfielder John-Paul Kissock had already left to join Ebbsfleet United, after accepting an offer which Whitehawk could not get near to matching.

King wants to have an 18-man squad and that means bringing in “four to five” signings.

The rest of last season’s squad have been offered new deals to stay and King also hopes to welcome back defender Paul Lorraine who missed virtually all of last season with a serious knee injury.

King said: “Paul wants to stay and I want him to stay but I need to see how he has recovered from his injury. He is already out running, though, which is good news.

“Hopefully he will be a massive player for us this season but we just need to see he comes back all right.

“We have only lost one player that we wanted to keep (Kissock).

“JP has moved sideways for money reasons. We can’t compete when a player is offered four figures. It is not as though he has moved up the road for £50, he has got himself a great deal.

“I’m hoping all the other players will stay and we will add to this with four to five signings.

“If I can get the players I want we will be stronger than last year and we will have more depth to the squad.”

Whitehawk trio Nick Arnold, Lee Hills and Sam Deering were named in the 2014-15 Vanarama Conference team of the year.