HARTLEY Wintney FC manager Ben Dillon is confident that his side can improve on last season despite the loss of star player Sam Argent.

The striker has left the Memorial Ground to join Basingstoke Town, leaving a big hole in the Hartley front line. Dillon has moved to fill the void by signing a new striker in Jason Palmer and is targeting an improvement on their performance in the Combined Counties League Premier Division last season.

“It will be hard to do as well as we did in the FA Cup last year but we would like to have a bit of a run in the FA Vase,” Dillon said. “In the league, I would be happy if we were able to finish higher than the seventh place we managed last year.

“As a manager, you always want to see guys play at the highest level possible, but we will miss Sam.

“We’ve managed to keep hold of the rest of the squad and have added a couple of players. Ali Brown has joined us from Whitchurch and our new striker, Jason Palmer, is looking sharp.”

Hartley begin their campaign with a home game against Colliers Wood United on Saturday, before facing a tough trip to Cove on Tuesday night.

“I will be disappointed if we do not get three points on Saturday, but our opening fixtures are pretty tough,” Dillon added. “I expect Cove to end up in the top five.”