WORCESTER Raiders' chairman Steve Harris has expressed the team's collective "disappointment" at being rejected for a Midland Football League (MFL) Premier Division spot with neighbours Worcester City following the non-league restructure on Tuesday.

Raiders have been shunted into the Hellenic League Division 1 following the FA's shake-up of Steps 4 and 6 and will move from the West Midlands (Regional) League (WMRL) Premier Division as of next season.

Harris confirms the club applied for promotion to the MFL Premier Division (Step 5) with City, but their application was turned down.

"Without a doubt, we're disappointed not to be in the MFL," he said.

"We were looking forward to playing Worcester City this season but it hasn't happened. Maybe we can get them in the cup and get a large crowd for that game.

"I have spoken to Steve (Goode, chairman of Worcester City) and asked to play them in a pre-season friendly , but they haven't got back yet. But it would be great to play them and get a large crowd for it.

Raiders finished their 2020/21 WMFL Premier Division campaign in second, with a game in hand on Shifnal Town in first, and looked good for a top four spot which would have seen them gain promotion.

But due to the pandemic, the season was curtailed and the FA based promotion on a points-per-game average from the previous two seasons, and Raiders fell short.

"Of course we were frustrated," added Harris.

"We thought at the time that we had a chance. We applied to join the MFL Premier Division, but unfortunately it didn't come to fruition. We just have to get on with it.

In the Hellenic league, Raiders will be the second most northerly side in the division and face the prospect of some long trips down to the south of the country, as far as venues such as Wallingford over 100 miles away.

On a positive note, Harris is excited at the prospect of playing new teams and is full of optimism as they look forward to playing games again, in what is set to be a packed pre-season schedule before the 2021/22 campaign gets underway.

"Its going to be a good challenge and to be fair, im looking forward to it," admitted Harris.

"There are a lot of teams we haven't played before so were all quite positive about it.

"We will be releasing a pre-season schedule soon. We're trying to sort out a pre-season fixture with a football league club before next season, get the crowds back in, and go from there."