BRIGHTLINGSEA Regent striker Michael Brothers insists his new side are firmly in the play-off race.

The front man has just returned to the Taydal Stadium after a spell at Maldon and Tiptree, having previously been player/joint-manager at Brantham Athletic.

And he believes he and his team-mates have every reason to be confident of a top-five finish in the Bostik League premier division, having shown their quality in recent matches against high-fliers Haringey Borough and Merstham.

“We’re there or thereabouts, without doubt," said the vastly-experienced Brothers.

“You can see that from the league table because it’s very tight in the top half.

“But we can also take real heart from our performances in the last week or so, against Haringey and Merstham.

“We’re not far away.

"There’s talk of the play-offs and when you look at the table you think ‘why not?’

“That would be amazing.

“Five points is nothing, with 12 games left.

"Thirty-six points is a lot and all you need is a couple of good results and you’re up there.

“Who’s to say we can’t sneak into the top five?"

Brothers is enjoying being back at his former club and loving the challenge of step three football again, having previously graced this level with Needham Market and Leiston.

“I’m loving being back here," he said.

“I’ve come back at a good time because we’ve just played two teams in the top three.

“It’s a bit of an eye-opener in terms of the level of football, because I haven’t played it for a couple of years.

“I really enjoyed my short time at Maldon but when this opportunity came along it was a no-brainer because I know (manager) Tom (Rothery) and work with (assistant boss) Pip (Boyland).

"It feels great to be back playing at the highest level I’ve ever played at and I’m thriving on it.

“It’s a great bunch of lads.

"I know a lot of them anyway and they’re just honest boys who want to win games of football. They all give 100%.

“There’s a really good balance in terms of experienced players and young lads coming through.

“The togetherness is great and when you’re spending ten hours or so a week together you really need that. They’re a big part of your life.

"It lovely being back at Brightlingsea.

“The ground has come on so much and everyone behind the scenes is great.

"They’re good, honest people that just want to be involved.

“Everyone’s friendly and it’s just a nice place to be – a proper community club.”

Brightlingsea head to the Kent coast for a date with Margate tomorrow and Brothers hopes his side build on their performances against second-placed Haringey Borough (where they were unfortunate to lose 2-1) and fellow play-off chasers Merstham (1-1).

“The Haringey game was so close and we could easily have come away with three points," he said.

“Saturday was similar.

“We caused them problems going forward and it was a good game to play in.

"We could have nicked it and they could have nicked it, so a draw was probably a fair result."