JOINT-manager Lee Hughes insists he has not joined Worcester City to “mess around” as he bids to capture the Midland League Premier Division crown this season.

City begin their league campaign on Saturday when they entertain Heanor Town at Bromsgrove’s Victoria Ground (3pm).

And with ex-Premier League striker Hughes set to lead the line the Blue and Whites are being tipped to challenge for the only promotion spot.

The former West Bromwich Albion and Coventry City frontman was offered the chance to stay at National League North outfit AFC Telford United at the end of last term.

But the 41-year-old decided to take his first steps into management with Worcester and said he was determined to finish the season as league champions.

“I want to go up,” said Hughes who is sharing the managerial duties at City with John Snape.

“I have not come down three leagues to mess around. My ambition is to get Worcester City into the next division. Anything other than that is a failure.”

Worcester were relegated last term and dropped two further levels after the club’s bosses resigned from the National League.

Hughes admitted playing against sides in the 10th tier of English football would be a “learning curve” as they prepare to face Heanor who have finished sixth in the last two seasons.

But having defeated Daventry Town 1-0 in a fiercely-fought FA Cup extra preliminary round tie last weekend Hughes believes his side are up for the battle.

“I think all the games (will be tricky) especially when we go away from home and play on their pitches,” he said.

“They are not going to be the best. It is going to be different and it will be a learning curve.

“But the lads showed on Saturday we can compete with anybody.”

Injury-plagued defender Shabir Khan faces a race to be fit after being forced off with a knee problem in the second half at Daventry.

But his possible omission could provide an opening for Tom Fishwick to start at centre-back alongside Mark Smith.

Hughes said he had been pleased with the competitiveness of the squad.

“It was a headache to pick the team last Saturday,” Hughes added.

“The young lads have done well but we decided to go with a bit of experience because we knew it would be a tough game and wanted to get that first one out of the way.

“We have got loads of games coming up so everyone is going to get used and I think everyone can step up to the mark.

“The lads will work hard during the week like they have done all pre-season.

“They have been first class (in training) so I have been really pleased so far with the way they have conducted themselves."