OUTGOING Maldon and Tiptree manager Steve Ball believes whoever succeeds him in the Park Drive hot seat will inherit a squad that can win the Ryman North title next season.

The Jammers have begun their search for a new boss after Ball left his position following his appointment as John McGreal’s assistant at Colchester United.

Maldon chairman Ed Garty has already begun the process of interviewing candidates to become Ball’s successor, with the new boss once again likely to come from the U’s coaching staff.

The Jammers will continue with their link-up with Colchester, which has seen the likes of Femi Akinwande and Ben Wyatt earn professional deals at the Weston Homes Community Stadium and the Ryman North side benefit from the services of U’s youngsters such as James Bransgrove and Chris Regis.

Maldon finished this season on a high note, finishing just outside the play-off places – and Ball believes they can aim high in the 2016-17 campaign.

Ball said: “I think it’s a squad that can challenge for promotion, next season.

“I hope that nothing much will change at Maldon, in that there’s a really strong squad in place.

“It really puts the club in a good position and again, I go back to the way we finished the season which was by getting 42 points in the last 20 league games.

“That tells you everything about the squad; there’ll be additions in the summer I’m sure but whoever is appointed I think will have a really good, competitive squad in that division.

“But it’s not just about being competitive at Maldon next year; it’s about setting out our intention to go and win the division and I firmly believe that that can happen, next season.”

Ball took over as Maldon boss at the end of December from David Wright, who left the role to take up a position as Kevin Keen’s assistant at Colchester.

He enjoyed a successful time with the Jammers, helping them to a seventh-place finish where they ended up just eight points shy of a play-off place.

“It’s a sad one to be leaving Maldon and I had a fantastic time there,” said Ball.

“The biggest thing for me at Maldon and Tiptree was where we ended up as a group.

“After the last game of the season, we have a good chat about how we’d done and I was really proud of everyone that we created such a good environment and it was a winning group of players.

“The results have been phenomenal but like anything in life, as a player or a manager if an opportunity comes along it needs to be taken sometimes.

“The one performance that really stood out in terms of our new mentality and desire to see a game out for 94 minutes was the Thamesmead home game, which we won 4-3.

“It epitomized everything about my time in charge and the boys really bought in to what I was doing and what Liam (Bailey) was doing.

“We scored a 94th-minute winner against a form team at the time was probably the best moment but there was quite a few.”