MANAGER Kevin Lynch believes this is the best squad he has assembled in his time at Marine - and the most equipped for a sustained run at winning promotion.
The Mariners head into Saturday's match at Nantwich Town inside the Evo-Stik Premier Division's play-off places and though Lynch is refusing to make predictions about where his side will finish this season, he knows they have proved themselves worthy of being in the top five.
Lynch took full charge of the Arriva Stadium side in the 2009/10 season and following finishes of ninth, eighth and seventh, the manager believes he has a side good enough to now be challenging the very best in the league.
Although there are some "big hitters" in the division Lynch says his side are ready to meet the challenge head on.
"Without a shadow of a doubt we have a stronger squad now than ever before," he said.
"Year on year we have improved the squad and improved the players.
"As the lads have become accustomed to the league we have been able to move forward.
"We have definitely improved as a bunch of players."
Lynch has constantly tried to evolve and change the squad in his time in charge.
Though often the sale of players for big money or the decision of other squad members to leave the Crosby club, has forced his hand the manager has worked hard to find better players.
"We are a lot better equipped now but we know that can all change with injuries and suspensions," he said.
"People will have questioned us across the years when we lost Jamie Rainford and Neil Harvey, for example, but we are a better squad now.
"We have a great chance of doing something this season but we must remember that there is no easy game in this league.
"The league is difficult because there are some big hitters in there. The league is improving all the time, year on year.
"There are some big teams in there so I won't be making any bold statements and say we are definitely going to get promoted. Since I have been here, year on year, we have consistently improved the team.
“The team ethic is better, the squad's mentality is better and we are a lot more professional about how we approach the games.
"And if we don't pick up injuries and we keep this group of players together - which will be difficult because players want to be playing all the time - then we could be in with a shot. Successful teams need successful squads.
"I am definitely not manager of Marine to accept second best.
“We are in with a fighting chance this season and we have the belief that our players are good enough to challenge anyone."