Terry Brown knows AFC Wimbledon have a long way to go if they are to challenge for League Two promotion next season.
The Dons secured their Football League survival with a 1-1 draw at Crawley Town on Saturday to kill off any possibility of an immediate return to the non-League ranks.
After a blistering start to the campaign, which saw them in the promotion places in early October, the Dons have struggled, losing 18 out of their past 31 league games and taking just 25 points from a possible 93.
It is not an easy run in for them either with games at home to promotion chasing Torquay United this Saturday and Shrewsbury Town on May 5 sandwiching a match at relegation-threatened Barnet.
“Having just played Southend and Crawley we have got four of the top five clubs to finish the season with,” said Brown.
“We are about to play Torquay and I watched Shrewsbury on Tuesday and they are a very good outfit – we have a lot to learn and have to get better to get near those teams, we are a little away from them at the moment and there will be some movement in the summer with new faces in.
“Survival was great for us though and it would have been a disaster had we gone straight back down.
“We are at the level now where we do rely a lot on the television money and there’s a major difference compared to the league below and it is allowing us to pump a lot of money into the academy and youth system.”
Staying up on Saturday came at a cost with striker Jason Prior suffering a double leg break that has ruled him out for six months.
The former Bognor Regis Town front man, signed in January, was making only his second start after missing two months with a knee injury but was caught badly by Hope Akpan in only the sixth minute.
He has since has an operation to pin the leg and is now recovering at his home in Portsmouth with family.
“It was a blow as I think he is going to be a really good player for us and I have been delighted by his progress,” added Brown.
“But he got injured when he first came to us and this is going to be another six months out.
“I am told he was barely injured in five years at Bognor so maybe it is fate or just bad luck.”