WORCESTER City face a tough start to the Conference North season, according to assistant manager Matt Gardiner.

The Blue and Whites open their 2014-15 campaign at home to Stalybridge Celtic on Saturday, August 9, but then take on two of the teams beaten in last season’s play-offs — Guiseley and North Ferriby United — before the end of August.

Carl Heeley’s men are also up against Tamworth, who were relegated from the Conference Premier, and Brackley Town, seventh last term, in the opening month.

City travel to big-spending Barrow for their opening match in September.

Gardiner said: “I think it’s good we are starting at home but, with the transfer activity of the other teams, it’s a tough start.

“We are really excited about facing the clubs that have done a lot of business in the transfer market.

“We have got to be prepared because they have more resources than us.

“We will try to give every team a game. Our objective is to improve on our position from last season (15th).”

Following the Barrow fixture, City host newly-promoted duo Lowestoft Town and Chorley.