Met Police boss Jimmy Cooper is playing down his side’s Ryman Premier League chances next term based on the fact he is being outgunned in the transfer market.

The Imber Court chief saw wideman Howard Newton leave the club last week bound for Ryman Division One South Tooting & Mitcham United – managed by former Blue Craig Tanner.

Cooper is in the market for a replacement plus two others, but admits his best laid plans may be blown out the water by big spending rivals.

Rumours of some clubs shelling out £900-a-week for the division’s top players have circulated this summer with Margate and new boss Terry Brown already pre-season title favourites based on their aggressive recruitment policy that has seen Kingstonian striker Ryan Moss move east.

And Cooper is only too aware that if he is struggling to compete off the field then that is only going to make his job more difficult when it comes to delivering results on it.

“Losing Howard was not really a surprise as he seemed to have lost a bit of his drive last year and I think he was looking for a new challenge as much as anything else,” he said.

“We are looking at getting in a replacement and hope to have one or two in by the start of pre-season training on June 28.

“It is hard at the moment though. The money being thrown around in this league is unbelievable. We cannot compete with that. Our budget has got a little bit smaller by comparison.”

He added: “We’ll have a small tight knit squad and hopefully that will do for us.

“Kingstonian have done very well to keep their squad together because there are some very tempting offers out there.

“It is crazy. There is only one automatic promotion spot – plus the play-offs – and for some clubs throwing money at it is the way forward, so good luck to them.”