WOKING assistant manager Ian Dyer says they must be ready to accept the challenges that result from them having their best season for 25 years.

In 2023-23, the Cards finished fourth in the Vanarama National League and reached the play-offs for the first time in their history.

Asked for his thoughts on next season, Dyer – who joined the Kingfield outfit at the beginning of the 2018-19 campaign – told the News & Mail: “Standards were raised last season, both on the pitch and as a club. So I don’t think we’re going to fly under the radar as much next season.

“Whereas maybe last season we were a bit of a surprise package, next season we’re going to be one of the teams that people are going to talk about because we finished fourth in the league.

“People will be looking at us as a tough game from the start next season, and probably one of the teams to watch. We have to be prepared for that as a club, and as a group of players and staff.

“We’ll very much work as we did last season, with a one-game-at-a-time philosophy, and everybody will have to raise their standards. There’s no good us standing still now.

“We’ve had a good season but we’re all very ambitious and we want to go better next season, and we want to progress. We know that’s going to be extremely difficult to do, but we’ve very much set our sights on raising our standards across the board.”

Asked about how he spends his time during the close season, Dyer said: “First and foremost you reflect on the previous season. And then the wheels have to start in motion quite quickly in terms of recruitment.

“The manager [Darren Sarll] takes the recruitment side of it very seriously. He works tirelessly on that, and I support him in the background with analysing the players, looking at footage and trying to build a bit of a picture of what we need and how we go about finding these players.

“And then the closer you get to pre-season, there’s a lot of planning involved with regard to players’ training programmes and how you’re going to work with them individually and as a team.

“First and foremost it’s about getting them in the best physical condition that you can and then, as you work your way through that pre-season period, you start to build a team for competition.”

Woking’s players will report back for training towards the end of this month.

Dyer said: “We had a team meeting via Zoom where everyone logged in and the manager spoke to them about what to expect at the start of pre-season.

“As it was last year, it’s going to be very demanding because that’s the requirement to play in this team – and the players are well aware of that.

“We report back in the last week of June and we’ll be straight to work on the grass and looking forward to it.

“If you ask any player [what they want in pre-season training], you know that they want a ball involved at some point.

“I’m not sure that’s going to be the case, especially early on in training. It’s very important to build up their physical capacity first for the team to play the way we want them to and be successful.

“It’s such an important time, and those five or six weeks really do set you up for the season.”