DAN Trenkel says nothing less than promotion will do for his Great Wakering Rovers side this season.

Rovers kick-off the new Essex Senior League season at home to Stansted today, and player-manager Trenkel says three points is a must as they begin their quest for an immediate return to Ryman One North.

“It has to be promotion for us this season,” said Trenkel. "We are concentrating just on the league games this year. If we don’t go up and win two cups – for me that will be a failure.”

Trenkel said he expects their main rivals for the title to be a well-funded Takeley side, and that he also expects Enfield 1893 and Southend Manor to be challenging.

He expects Bethnal Green United to have a good season along with Burnham Ramblers.

Trenkel has just overseen his first pre-season as a manager and says it has gone as well as he could have possibly hoped for.

He said: “We have got a 23-man squad at the moment and when they’re all fit we are going to be very strong.”

Trenkel singled out their new signing John Mbamarah, who has arrived from Marlow, as a player to watch this season.

He said: “He’s 22 and can play at centre-half or centre midfield and he has done really well in pre-season.

“He did well when he played in midfield against Concord alongside Julian Simon-Parson, who has come to us from Hullbridge.

“Julian has got a great engine and he will be another big asset to us this season.”

Rovers have also brought in 16-year-old midfielder Sammy Knott on a dual registration from Concord this week.

Trenkel said: “He’s only young so I’m not expecting him to come and set the world alight, even at our level.

“But he played against Clacton on Tuesday night, and, considering he didn’t know any of the boys, he did really well.

“And I think he did enough to start against Stansted on Saturday.

“My job with him is to get him ready for Ryman level for Dan (Cowley, Concord manager). And if he can help us along the way then great.”

Trenkel said he plans to play himself in the opening few games but that he hopes to soon be able to drop to the bench to control things from the sidelines.

He said: “I’ll play in the first few games because I’m not sure how my team will react to playing the new teams.

“But I’m hoping to be in a position where I can leave myself out and trust the boys who are there to do a great job.”

Elsewhere on opening day, there is an intriguing clash at Gardiners Close where BASILDON UNITED host a Clapton side manager by the Bees’ former manager Chris Wood.

Wood left the club at the end of last season after they finished bottom of the division.

SOUTHEND MANOR, who were runners-up in the division last season, begin their campaign with a trip to Barking, and HULLBRIDGE SPORTS host Haringey & Waltham.