PENISTONE Church are hoping to compete for promotion to the Northern Premier League again but know they must make a good start in what is expected to be a very competitive NCEL Premier.

Church finished sixth last season under Stephen Lenthall, who took over in September after a slow start and had them in promotion contention before they slightly fell away at the end.

He said: “We want to carry on from last season. We went on a great run.

“We lost two in 22 which put us in the promotion chase. We want to do the same again this season but it is a must that we have a good start. In previous years, the club hasn’t hit the ground running. We’ve been really good in pre-season and we’re in a good place.

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“We’ve kept pretty much the whole squad and made a couple of signings.”

Lenthall believes the standard of the league is going up.

Newly-promoted Hallam have signed Czech international Daniel Pudil.

“I think it’s the toughest league it’s been for seven or eight years.

“Other clubs think the same.

“Teams who are coming in from lower divisions and the clubs who have come down will all be strong with good budgets and backing. A lot of clubs are recruiting well. It will be tough but we want to finish in the top six, which we understand will be the play-off places but that hasn’t been confirmed.”

Church begin their campaign at home to Handsworth today.