Outgoing Littlehampton Town Football Club interim manager Mitchell Hand has tipped Golds for promotion next season.
Littlehampton, who were relegated from the Southern Combination League Premier Division after a derby defeat at rivals Arundel last Thursday, ended the campaign with a 1-1 home draw against Eastbourne United on Saturday.
Already-relegated Littlehampton took the lead seconds after the restart through interim boss Hand, only for United to salvage a point courtesy of Dean Stewart-Hunter’s effort in second half stoppage-time.
Hand was part of the Golds team that lifted the title three seasons ago and he is backing the club to win promotion from SCFL Division 1 next season.
Littlehampton’s search for a new boss began on Saturday, with Hand stepping down to focus on playing.
The departing interim manager is not ruling out a return to The Sportsfield next season and said: “I haven’t had a second until now to think about where I’ll be playing myself, I’ll enjoy some much-needed time off and then see what happens.
“Everything changes so quickly at this level, you can never rule anything out.
“I believe the club will bounce straight back, I’d be very surprised if they didn’t put together a side that will be up there challenging in Division 1 next season.”
Hand felt his final match in interim charge had an all too familiar feel to it after Eastbourne equalised in injury-time.
He said: “It summed our season up really. “We dominated the ball for around 70 minutes and then as a result, our fitness could have easily lost the game due to the last 20 minutes. But it was an enjoyable performance. I just asked the boys to go and play with a bit of pride, which they did so fair play to them.”