Phil Brown admits he had a little wry smile to himself last week when he heard his friend Neil Reynolds talk about the challenges facing Bamber Bridge next season.
The Brig boss is preparing for life in the NPL Premier Division after guiding the club to promotion via the First Division North play-offs.
However, his quest to strengthen his squad at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium has been thwarted by some of the eye-watering figures he has been quoted for certain players.
Brown, of course, knows exactly how his Brig counterpart is feeling after going through the same experience this time last year.
After guiding his Dolly Blues team to the First Division North title, Brown discovered how much tougher it is to attract players at the higher level.
“Everybody says there’s not much difference between the First Division North and the Premier Division,” Brown said.
“But the standard in the Prem is betterand I don’t care what anybody says.
“There is a difference. You saw that with us last season.
“We won the First Division North last year, but it is a step up.
“Not just in terms of the extra travelling you do but the standard of players you’re coming up against.
“You’ve got better players with better CVs, who can demand more money.
“Some of the players you just can’t afford and I have to work within my budget.
“I saw what Renno said and I fully understand what he’s saying. They like us will probably have one of the smallest budgets in the division , but you have just got crack on withit and try to do the best you can.”
Despite the difficulties in terms of finances, Brown has been busy adding to his squad over the past week.
At the back end of last week, he sealed the signature of former Morecambe stalwart Craig Stanley from Barwell.
The 35-year-old spent several years with the Shrimps, helping the club into the Football League in 2007 when they triumphed over Exeter City at Wembley in the play-off final.
He then went on to be an integral part as the club cemented its place in the a Football League.
“I’m very happy to have secured the services of Craig,” said Brown. “He will be a very valuable player for us this season.
“He’s an excellent footballer who has a wealth of experience.He really impressed me last year when he played against us at centre back for Barwell.
Along with Stanley, Brown has also swooped for Workington midfielder Robert Wilson, while Charlie Russell has returned to Giant Axe from Clitheroe.
Veteran defender Glenn Steel has also signed a new deal to remain at the club.