RICHIE Wellens will not ask Swindon Town chairman Lee Power for a budget greater than £2.5million to invest next season, but at the same time, stated his belief that teams with the most investment will earn promotion from League Two.

Town will play their third consecutive season in the fourth tier of English football come August after registering 64 points from 46 games in 2018-19 – a figure that fell seven points short of the play-off frame.

The season ended on a high on Saturday, with on-loan striker Theo Robinson bagging a brace and Kaiyne Woolery also on target as Town claimed a 3-1 win at home to Notts County – who were consequently relegated from the Football League for the first time in 157 years.

Wellens made it clear he will never take pity on himself while boasting a competitive budget for League Two – and that will prove to be the case next season, with Power confirming ahead of kick-off on Saturday that £2million will again be invested in the squad.

“I’m well aware that I have to work within certain perimeters,” said Wellens.

“The wage bill at the club when David Flitcroft was here (in the 2017-18 season) was substantial, and the club should’ve been promoted on that budget.

“I’m not going to moan, I’ve got a tremendous job here. As long as I’ve got a competitive budget and something that I can work with, then I will be happy.

“I’m not asking for £2.5million or £3million. But look at the three teams that have gone up and find out what their budgets are.

“Football is not rocket science. You only have to look at every single league in England – the teams that pay the most money are the ones that will be at the top.

“We can improve players, and maybe make four or five places up. But on the whole, Lincoln, Bury, MK Dons and Mansfield have the biggest budgets in this league, and that’s why they’re in the top four.”

A lesser budget than Town’s rivals isn’t the reason behind Wellens’ plan to cut the club’s first-team squad from 31 to 20, however.

The Town boss admitted it has been tough leaving 13 players out of the matchday squad each week, suggesting morale among a fair proportion of the group has suffered as a result.

He added: “We’ve got 31 professionals in the squad, I can’t work with that.

“Every time I pick a squad of 18, I’ve got 13 players that I have to walk past in the building or on the training ground and make eye contact with them.

“You can sense their disappointment. I want to work with 20 players. That’s enough – including two or three young lads.”