MARTYN East believes Oulton Park’s decision to put their faith in young players won’t make them any less competitive in the Cheshire County League’s top-flight.

He has replaced Patrick Roberts as captain at Little Budworth, where recruitment has changed emphasis following the departures of Muhammad Shahbaz and Muhammad Kashif since the end of last season.

“There has been a high turnover of players but our objectives haven’t changed,” East told the Guardian.

“We want to consolidate our position and at the same time bring these lads through.

“Our view is that they are good enough to compete at this level, while those guys that have remained can still improve and find that little bit more.”

Of the new faces, James Plant and Andrew Dufty arrive from Northwich while Matthew Worsdale has left Davenham to play at Pinfold Lane.

Jonny Littler and Jack Oldham are on board from Weaverham, while Nantwich duo Harry and George Newton complete a list of signings.

Craig Douglas has left for Neston but Danny Leech, Cheshire’s three-day captain, and Tom Hyslop will add their experience to East’s know-how.

He said: “There’s a good mix of youth and experience with a core of guys who are proven at this level.

“I’ve been here for 10 years and it’s probably the right time for me to step up and try to pick up where Patrick has left off.

“He’s done a brilliant job, and I guess it’s a natural progression for me to follow him because I’ve been vice-captain for a while.

“I feel that I’m ready, and I can set an example for the others to follow.”

Oulton Park finished a creditable eighth on their return to the Premier Division after a six-year absence and ended the campaign as Cheshire Cup winners too.

A stunning start to last summer, which saw them win six of their opening eight matches, propelled them into the table’s upper reaches.

However injuries disrupted progress and they added only two more victories.

A visit from promoted Hyde for the opening game on Saturday will provide an early indicator of their relative strength.

East said: “We’re looking to have a good start again.

“There is a winning mentality here, and that helped us to win the cup final, and we’ll strive to put on a good show from the very first afternoon.

“Hyde will have momentum like we did after coming up and can be a powerful thing.”