Whisper it quietly but Hitchin Town are approaching the new Southern League Premier Division Central season with confidence - after the most unique of summers.

Manager Mark Burke has been able to retain almost all of his squad from last season, something that hasn't happened in a decade.

And with the familiarity and belief among the group high, he sees no reason why they can't hit the ground running from day one.

The boss said: "In 10 years, this is the first time ever that I've retained virtually everybody. 

"I've lost two. I've lost Josh Coldicott-Stevens and Steve Cawley which is disappointing but I’ve bought Isaac Galliford in. 

"So I'm down one if you like from last season which is unheard of. I'm usually starting with one and building from there so to have that continuity is a great platform going into the season. 

"It's shown in the two games that we've had that we are organised and we do know what we're doing. 

"We’ve just got that little head start because we've got the continuity so I'm really pleased with that.

"It's a good vibe within the group, they're really fighting for each other and that was shown in the battling performance against Stevenage.

"I'm excited, I'm really looking forward to it. If we can hit the ground running and continue in the way we finished last season off, who knows?

"I enjoyed last year. I know we finished 12th and had a couple of sticky patches but overall, it was half decent and I could see how we could get better. 

"The boys are another year older and have a little bit more experience. Some of these boys hadn't played at this level but they've had that year of experience so I'm thinking, this could be good.

"Retaining them all is another wow moment, another positive."

Hitchin's Southern League fixtures will be released on Friday at 12pm with full details coming on Comet Sport.