GRAHAM HARPER reckons Hampton & Richmond Borough can compete in the Blue Square Premier next season if promoted - however tough a league it is.

While the likes of Droylsden and Farsley Celtic are heading straight back down after a first season in non-league's top flight, Hampton could take heart from Histon, like themselves a village team, who have thrived in it.

Alan Devonshire's men secured their place in the Blue Square South play-offs with Saturday's 1-1 draw against Bognor Regis Town, a year after winning the Ryman Premier title - then hammered champions Lewes 6-0 on Tuesday night.

And if they make it two successive promotions, they will be allowed to play in the Premier next season while they bring their ground up to the right grading, as the Chronicle revealed last week.

Beavers right-back Harper said: "It would be hard playing against fully professional sides every week, I'm not going to deny that.

"But it was the same in this league, a lot of players questioned whether they would be good enough.

"We played Dagenham and Forest Green this year, and I don't think we've got anything to fear, but we would probably need to strengthen."

"Coming this far is a massive achievement, considering we only came up last year and there are teams with far bigger budgets than us.

"We've no reason to fear anyone in the play-offs, as we've shown this year."

Harper believes stability at the club is one of the main reasons for their success.

Apart from new signings Craig Tanner, Orlando Jeffrey and Shaun McAuley, it is largely the same squad that won the Ryman Premier last year.

Harper said: "We all get along on and off the pitch. We've got some great individual players, but we work well as a team."

Meanwhile, Beavers boss Dev has penned a new deal which will keep him at Beveree until at least 2010.

He said: "If someone had said to me at the start of the season we'd be in the playoffs, I wouldn't have believed them.

"But the credit has to go to the players, they've been terrific this year.

"And I think it would be amazing if we got into the Conference, it would be one hell of an achievement."

Lawrence Yaku netted against Bognor and was on target again against Lewes - in Hampton's biggest win for six years.

Rob Paris, Sean McAuley, Francis Quarm, Stuart Lake and Harper also netted.

* Staines Town will be guarenteed two home ties in the Ryman Premier playoffs if they can hold onto second place. They moved into second after recovering from Saturday's 2-0 home defeat to Hendon by beating Boreham Wood 2-1 on Tuesday.

But Ashford Town (Middx)'s play-off hopes look to be dead after they lost 3-1 at East Thurrock.