Sutton Cricket Club captain Keith Medlycott is not buying his former club Surrey's claim that a transitional period was to blame for the slump in to the lower tier of the professional game.

The Oval-based county were relegated to Division Two in the four-day and 40-over formats of the game last season under the temporary guidance of former England batsman Mark Ramprakash.

At the time, they cited the number of inexperienced players being fielded as the reason for their struggles but Medlycott, who guided Surrey to seven trophies during his time as coach, does not believe that was the case.

"I hear a lot of talk about youngsters and the fact the side is in transition," he said.

"I keep an eye on them and it was disappointing to see them slip down, but that wasn't because they were fielding a new team.

"I'm sure there will still be the same old names, such as Martin Bicknell, Scott Newman, James Ormond, Mark Ramprakash and Mark Butcher, on the teamsheet again this year, as they were last season.

"That doesn't fit with my understanding of transition, but the quality they have should be enough to bounce back from Division Two.

"But then where will they be?"

Sutton have benefited in recent years from Medlycott's Surrey contacts, with the arrival of seamer Phil Sampson last season, and now former second XI off-spinner Bilal Butt has added to the old boy contingent.

They form part of a bowling attack set to lead the Cheam Road club's assault on the Surrey Championship Premier Division this season, after winning promotion from Division One last year.

They will be joined by South African paceman Jeanne Van Heerden and stalwart Andy "Goose" Sartor to form a potent mix that Medlycott thinks will provide a challenge for any team.

"I don't think you enter any competition not believing you can do anything other than win it," he said, with his club preparing for their opening encounter with Dulwich on Saturday.

"We played Weybridge twice last year in two close games so we don't fear anyone."

Sampson, 25, who also played for Surrey in last season's Twenty20 competition, bagged 34 wickets last year as Sutton were pipped by Guildford for the Division One title.

The club have welcomed a number of students with top-level university cricket experience in a bid to add to last season's success.

That was built on an all-round squad performance and it will be more of the same this season, with Medlycott looking for his bowlers to provide a platform for his batsmen including leading Surrey colt Arun Harinath to attack.

"Last year, we got promoted without any star individual performances," he said.

"Everybody put up their hand up and delivered at some stage. I feel they have a lot more to offer and I'm expecting a bigger all-round performance from everyone.

"We always bowl better in the second half of the season when the ground is harder and I'm happy what we have got will take advantage of such conditions this time."