Darryl Duffy has told skysports.com that Bristol Rovers' main aim for next season is to keep on improving and challenge for a play-off spot.
The Pirates made a poor start to the current campaign and Duffy admits they were left with too much to do to mount a strong push for promotion.
Rovers are set to finish in mid-table and Duffy is already looking ahead to next term, when he will demand a much faster start from his team-mates.
"At the start of this season, we weren't playing particularly well as a team and we felt that we had a lot more to offer," said the striker.
"It took a little time to gel, and ultimately winning only one of the initial seven games left us with too much ground to make up.
"But we battled through the campaign, and to have come close to a top-six finish proves just how collective the squad became as the months wore on, even if our play-off aims did prove a bridge too far.
"Next season though, we may not be allowed such a chance to get back into the frame, as there are a few more quality clubs coming down, who are big outfits, so it's important to start as you mean to go on in this, just as in any other, league."
Duffy feels that it is not just the fact that there are big names dropping into the division that will make it hard, but also the experience and depth that other clubs have at their disposal.
He explained: "There is a massive financial difference between the two leagues and quite a gap in quality.
"Swansea ran away with the league this season and have only just missed out on the chance of playing off for a place in the Premier League. They were a very good side last year and have impressed again this year.
"Bigger squads make such a difference at this level and we have only got about 12 or 13 true first-teamers - most of the rest of the squad are young, inexperienced players.
"I'm sure the gaffer will be looking to add quality to the squad."
Young striker Josh Klein-Davies, meanwhile, has been released by Bristol Rovers.
The 20-year-old former Bristol City trainee has been at the Memorial Stadium for two years and made 10 league appearances.
However, he has not featured this season and has spent time on loan at non-league clubs Lewes and Bath City.