Bullish chairman Mike Kearns believes St Neots Town will go into Southern League Premier Division battle next season with their best-ever squad.

A revamped set of Saints players – boosted by five summer arrivals with two more still to follow – began pre-season training last night (Tuesday).

It marked the start of a long journey which Kearns and boss David Batch hope will end in promotion to Conference football next May.

Kearns said: “This is by far the best squad we have ever had at St Neots.

“It is a seriously good group of players who tick all the boxes. We've got potential, we've got talent and we've got experience.

“It is also a very athletic and versatile squad with all outfield players comfortable in at least a couple of positions.

“We could not be happier with our recruitment. It is incredible to think we have managed to secure every one of our targets – and to get them in on our terms makes it even better.

“There is no doubt in my mind we will start the new season with a stronger squad than we finished last season – and you have to remember we only lost twice from Boxing Day onwards even though the manager couldn't implement all the things he wanted to do due to the importance of the games we were involed in.”

Experienced goalkeeper Danny Gay became the latest Saints recruit and it was a case of third time lucky for Batch. The St Neots boss had failed to attract Gay to two of his previous clubs, but has finally got his man now.

Gay was a youngster at Norwich City and played 11 times in the Football League for Southend before going on to enjoy an extensive non-league career.

Two further outfield additions will follow in the coming days with Kearns revealing that compensation packages are still to be finalised.

He added: “Danny is a very experienced and capable goalkeeper who has been a long-time target of the manager.

“We just have a couple more deals to get completed now and that will be our transfer business done.

“We have agreed terms with both players who will be coming in, but we are still in the process of trying to agree compensation.”

Luis Vieira become the second youngster from the Saints Academy to sign a first-team contract this summer.

The teenager scored his first senior goal in the final home match of last season.

Influential defender Ryan Frater and full-back Sam Harty have also agreed to stay.