WORCESTER City have the ability to “outplay anyone” in the Midland League Premier Division, according to Nathan Hayward.

The Worcester-born midfielder is optimistic about his side’s title chances ahead of their opener against Heanor Town tomorrow (3pm), insisting gaining promotion was the “main priority” this season.

Hayward believes landlords Bromsgrove Sporting and Sporting Khalsa, who finished third last term, will be in the mix for top spot.

But the 25-year-old reckons City have got “the qualities” to be crowned champions this term.

“The main priority is to gain promotion in my eyes,” said Hayward who joined City from Malvern Town this summer.

“Obviously we want to do well in the FA Cup and I believe we have got a chance to win the FA Vase as we have got a really good squad.

“They are both achievable targets but my main aim is to gain promotion and get Worcester back to where they should be.”

Hayward felt City demonstrated their title credentials in the 1-0 win at 10-man Daventry Town in the FA Cup extra preliminary round last Saturday.

Although Worcester had to battle hard against their tough-tackling opponents Hayward said their ability on the ball shone through.

“It was a bit of a scrappy game but we had spells where we played football and showed our quality,” he said.

“Sometimes in games like that you are going to have to take the rough with the smooth and I thought we dominated.

“When you come up against a team you don’t know a lot about you expect a bit of a battle.

“I thought we outbattled them and our quality shone through.

“Some games will be like last Saturday but there will be teams who want to play and obviously that will be to our advantage in my opinion.

“There will be a couple of teams who will be up there pushing, like Bromsgrove and Sporting Khalsa and other teams that I don’t know a lot about.

“But I believe we have got the qualities to win it as we can battle and we are good enough to outplay anyone in our league."

Hayward is expected to start in central midfield against Heanor after his man-of-the-match showing at Daventry.

But he stressed there were plenty of players knocking on the door for a starting place.

“Everyone is fighting for their places which is good as no one’s position is safe,” Hayward added.

“It is great I am playing week in week out and I will keep working hard to maintain that.

“The good thing about Worcester is you are constantly on your toes with Snapper (John Snape) and Hughsey (Lee Hughes) making sure you realise you need to keep putting in 100 per cent to maintain that position because as soon as you don’t there is a big possibility you could get dropped.

"Having a strong squad makes you work harder.”