John Maggs is targeting a play-off spot as Horsham prepare to return to the town after a year’s exile at Worthing.

Hornets kick off their Ryman premier campaign at pre-season promotion favourites Dartford tomorrow before hosting Sutton United, another side tipped to go well, on Tuesday in the first game at Gorings Mead since their groundshare with Horsham YMCA.

Maggs has had his playing budget trimmed but he has still put together a squad he feels is stronger than the one which finished in mid-table last season.

The versatile Ben Andrews can play in either defence or attack while Pat Harding will bring more firepower up front.

Maggs will also have Jack Page and Eddie French available after they missed much of last season through injury although defender French has dual-signed for County League Loxwood to get some games under his belt in the first few weeks of the season.

Maggs said: “We are ambitious and we would love promotion but it’s a very competitive league again – a lot of clubs have invested in their squads. There isn’t much evidence of a recession in the Ryman premier.

“But we have a decent squad and I do think it’s stronger than last year. Realistically we are looking to challenge for a play-off spot.”

Horsham’s long-term dream is a new stadium on the outskirts of the town after their ambitious plan to build a ground at Holbrook was turned down by the local council.

Maggs added: “Being back in Horsham again is great for the supporters and on the commercial side we have seen a big improvement since last year.

“YMCA have been very good to us but it’s still not our ground and the sooner we have our own place the better. Things are progressing and on the football side it’s important we maintain the level we are playing at in time for the new ground which could happen in a couple of years.”

INS: Ben Andrews (Worthing), Pat Harding (Eastbourne Borough), Scott Harris (Bognor), Jack Lyons.

OUTS: Williams Peauroux (Lewes).

Boss Darin Killpartrick has warned Bognor supporters to expect another season of struggle.

The Rocks return to the Ryman League for the first time in five years following their relegation from the Blue Square south but Killpartrick has ruled out bouncing straight back.

He said: “I read somewhere that we were sixth favourites to win the title but whoever wrote that needs their head looking at. This club is going through a total rebuilding season so I am looking to just survive.

“It is a very tough league and we will not be underestimating any teams. It is going to be just as difficult as Conference south and some games will be even harder.”

The Rocks plans have already been hit by injuries to experienced duo Stuart Tuck and Michael Birmingham which will rule them out of tomorrow’s opener at home to Hendon.

INS: Charlie Oatway (East Preston), Mickey Demetriou (Worthing), Stuart Tuck (Burgess Hill), Michael Birmingham (Gosport), Howard Neighbour (Arundel), Kane Louis (on loan from Eastbourne Borough), James Archer (Selsey).

OUTS: Craig Stoner (Littlehampton), Nathan Lynch.

Quality not quantity is the watchword at Hastings United this season.

Tony Dolby is in his second spell at the Pilot Field but this time he has had pre-season to work with the players as he prepares for tomorrow’s opener at Boreham Wood.

The return of the Olorunda brothers, Ade and Tim, talismanic centre-half Sean Ray and former skipper Jimmy Elford has pleased the majority of supporters. He has also added young striker Liam Upton after his release from Seagulls while Josh Jirbandey, who was let go by Peterborough, is another new addition.

The loss of the fleet-footed Frankie Sawyer is a blow but Sam Adams is the heart of the United side and will lead the goal threat alongside Scott Ramsay on his return to the forward line following his stint at the back during last season.

Nathan Russell and Rhys Whyborne are now experienced campaigners at this level and the only concern is a lot of the younger players who featured last season have gone and a lack of depth beyond the first team may be exposed if injuries hit key players.

Dolby has a side which should be capable of a top-half finish this term.

INS: Ade Olorunda, Tim Olorunda (both Tonbridge Angels), Sean Ray (Ashford Town), Josh Jirbandey (Peterborough United), Jimmy Elford (Ashford Town), Liam Upton (Albion), Steve Elliott (Lewes).

OUTS: Kevin Rose, Milton Miltiadou, Matt Darby, Paddy Cody, Sam Hesmer, Kingsley Parsons, Allan McMinigal (all Sidley), Marc Whiteman (Whitehawk), Frankie Sawyer (Carshalton), Jethro Warren, Ben White (both Bexhill United), Charley Side, Antonio Gonnella.