ASSISTANT manager Chris Cornes reckons a habit of performing “better against the top sides” can see Worcester Raiders maintain a push for back-to-back promotions.

The West Midlands (Regional) League Premier Division newcomers sit third in the early standings with four wins and a draw from seven matches, all of which have been played on the road with Claines Lane being redeveloped.

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That start has caught the eye on the back of losing just one league game en route to the Division One crown last season.

A 1-0 defeat at Wednesfield followed by letting slip a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 in a reversed ‘home’ derby with Pershore Town has stalled progress ahead of travelling to second-placed Bewdley Town on Saturday (3pm) and then table-topping Shifnal Town the weekend after.

But Cornes is backing his charges to show their best against the big guns despite still being on a learning curve, arguing Raiders can make the most of four promotion places being available due to an FA shake-up. 

“Up to now we are happy with where we are,” said Cornes.

“Have we overachieved and now we think it is a God-given right to turn over these teams? I don’t know, it is a tough one going into some of these games blind as we're getting to know the league.

“We would have taken where we are but once you get on a run and win a few you want a little bit more.

“Overall we are okay with where we are going into the next two which will be massive.

“Last season we played better against the top sides and a lot of teams have been up and down.

“It is hard to get a feel for the league and we won’t know a lot more until the end of this month or the start of October.

“We are not getting too far ahead but I don’t think any manager of a side that thinks of itself as a top six, eight or even 10 contender wants to consolidate.

“I wouldn’t be in football to without wanting to go out to win every game and to try to win the league.

"Can we win it? Who knows, but can we finish second, third or fourth? I see no reason why not.

“We will need to be better and more consistent, though. It seems like we take a couple of steps forward, then one back, one forward and another couple back at the minute."

Raiders await news on whether big guns Brad Birch and Dave Reynolds will be available for the trip to Ribbesford Meadow to tackle a Bewdley outfit boasting a 100 per cent league record under ex-Kidderminster Harriers gaffer Phil Mullen.

Defender Alex Marsh and midfielder Matt Andrews come back into contention but creative catalyst Kyle Belmonte serves a one-match ban for picking up five bookings.