BRADFORD Town manager Wayne Thorne won’t underestimate the capabilities of Toolstation League Premier Division newcomers Exmouth Town and Tavistock, but at the same time, wants to break into the division’s top three during his first full season in charge.

Thorne took over as Bradford boss in October last year and was tasked with avoiding relegation from non-league’s fifth tier when joining.

Remarkably, the Bobcats climbed to seventh in the table by the end of the campaign – and a top-three finish has subsequently been set as Thorne’s goal over the next eight months.

He said: “I want to try and break into the top three if we can, and compete with the teams at the top of the division.

“When I took charge of the club, it was a completely different set-up. A lot of work has gone into the club, and hopefully I will be judged on my team.

“We got some players in over Christmas last year, but a lot of work has been done since to attract the type of players we wanted – and now it is my team.”

The Bradford boss revealed a budget similar to last season has been delivered by the club’s board.

A rise in attendances and sponsorship boosts will undoubtedly go a long way in helping Thorne achieve his top-three goal for this season.

And knocking on the door amid the festive period in December is something Thorne won’t be afraid to do should he feel the club find itself in a position to challenge for promotion.

He added: “The budget is very similar to what it was last year. The club won’t be silly with things, I’ve got a budget to work with, though – that’s all we can do.

“We need more people through the gates and need to attract more sponsorship for those numbers to improve.

“If we find ourselves in a certain position at Christmas, I’ll be knocking on the door to see what we can do in terms of money.”

And what about the Bobcats’ main threats this season?

Thorne sees Willand Rovers, Buckland Athletic and Bitton as three of several teams he believes can be pushing for promotion.

“Exmouth and Tavistock will provide an element of the unknown,” said Thorne.

“Willand and Buckland I expect to be strong too. Plymouth Parkway are another team to watch, and Bitton are chucking money at it again.

“There are probably about eight teams that probably fancy themselves as title contenders.”