Scott Lindsey rejected suggestions that the Southern Eastern Counties would be a two-horse race between Chatham and Sheppey.
There was nothing between them in the recent post-lockdown friendly tournament with two draws in the group stage before Cats won the final on penalties.
They are two ambitious clubs, packed with quality, but Cats boss Lindsey thinks it would be wrong to rule out the other teams.
He said: “It would be disrespectful of me to comment on that and say that it’s just between us and Sheppey to win the league because I don’t think it will be like that.
“All we can do is just focus on ourselves and watch what we’re doing, what pre-season games we have and what our training schedule looks like.
“Every game in this league is tough.
“Whether you’re playing against teams up or down, they’re all tough opponents. “
Chatham built on his success in the tournament coming back two goals less to beat a Gillingham XI 3-2 last Saturday.
Chris Lawal, Josh Strouts and Jordy Robins turned the tide for Lindsey’s men.
“We only had nine or 10 days off since the tournament ended,” said the Cats boss. “Gills was pretty strong, it wasn’t just a youth team, they also had young pros.
“When you’re a full-time club the fitness levels are different from a non-league club, they got out of the blocks quickly and we struggled to get into the game.
“It took us 20 minutes, but once we found our rhythm we looked good after that. It was a very good test, a competitive game and it was nice to come back from 2-0.
Lindsey is delighted to have former Folkestone and Margate defender Liam Friend on board.
The experienced center-back has played hundreds of matches in the Isthmian League.
“He’s someone I know from Folkestone and he probably brings over 500 games with him at a good level,” said Lindsey.
“We missed someone like him in the back line with that experience, that dominance and his professionalism. He’s someone who can train boys.
“I spoke to him at length a few months ago and gave a presentation to show him how we play, how we work and where he would fit in.
“We left him alone for a few weeks and then we managed to get him through.”
Lindsey also converted the loan from Folkestone goalkeeper Henry Newcombe to a permanent contract.
“Neil Cugley didn’t really want to evolve him, but he couldn’t guarantee he would play every week,” Lindsey said.
Chatham visits Folkestone on Tuesday and hosts Ebbsfleet on Maidstone Road on Wednesday.
Lindsey said: “We’re going to mix it up for these two games, but both teams will be relatively strong.
“I have a couple of players who are out of shape and the only way to get back in shape is to spend minutes on the training ground and in games.”
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