MARK Bentley has set his sights on winning promotion during his first full season in charge of Canvey Island.

The Gulls will get their Isthmian North campaign underway with an away clash against Romford tomorrow.

And Bentley has challenged his new-look side to get the new term off to a perfect start.

“We want to set our stool out and send a message to the rest of the teams in the division by getting our season off to a good start,” said the Gulls’ chief.

“The league table will level itself out after 10 games, so it’s important that we are up there near the top of the standings at that stage.

“We didn’t get close to challenging for promotion last season and that was disappointing because we are all very ambitious.

“I know where I want to be and that is fighting to go up come the end of the season.

“It’s going to require a lot of effort, but I have a squad of players that can mount a challenge.

“I’m expecting the teams that were in the play-offs last season to be up there again because they have kept their squads together.

“We’re a brand new squad and it’s a case of seeing how quickly we gel.”

Romford were originally relegated on the final day of last season but, due to the restructuring of the non-league pyramid, earned a reprieve.

Following a promising pre-season, Bentley is keen for his side to take their summer form into their clash with Romford at Brentwood Town’s stadium.

“We’re expecting a really tough game,” added Bentley.

“Romford do things on the bare minimum and I have a lot of respect for them because they always get a very competitive squad of players together.

“We nicked a last minute winner against them in the same game last season, so we know they will be difficult to beat.

“Having been originally relegated, they got a reprieve and, like us, they will be looking to make a good start to the season.

“We’ve got to make sure that we maintain the standards we have set.”