Sutton & Epsom head coach Jeff Parsons has overseen mission accomplished this season, but he remains a frustrated man.
When Sutton won promotion back to London Division One South last year, the target was simple – do not get relegated again.
Despite a 6-36 defeat to promotion chasing Gravesend at the weekend, Sutton are safe in ninth with three games remaining.
However, Parsons was hoping for a finish in the top half of the table, and he believes his side have missed out because of reasons off the playing field.
“Our main concern has been strength in depth.
“If we could have the same 18 players every week, we would be a top four side,” he said.
“But we have been troubled with injuries and lack of available players.
“We have used about 50 players this season, but more recently we have been naming 18 out of the 19 we have fit and available.
“But we had 75 players registered at the start of the season, that will tell you how unlucky we have been.”
He added: “Those who have played have done really well, but we’ve missed out on about seven or eight bonus points, and have not quite been able to get over the line in other games.
“We have done what we set out to achieve, but it has been frustrating because we could have achieved more if we had that strength in depth.”
Sutton have three games remaining, starting with a trip to Brighton this weekend.
It has given Parsons a chance to blood some of the younger players, which is very much a silver lining to the season.
He said: “It has been really pleasing to see the young players come through.
“We have a winger who is just 17, Kyren Ghumra, and he is one of the fastest players I have ever seen.
“He came in a few weeks ago because we had no one else, and he has been in the team ever since playing some very good and experienced sides.”
Having played the top two in recent weeks, Parsons is well placed to run the rule over the leaders.
“I can see Gravesend winning the league, and then Chichester getting into the play-offs,” he said.