WITH the non-league football season just around the corner, Worcester Raiders step-up their preparations tomorrow when they face Cymru Premier side Penybont FC at Sixways.

The Welsh side finished fourth in the league last season and qualified for the qualifying stages of the new Europa Conference League Play-Offs.

They were formed as the current club in 2013 when Bridgend Town and Bryntirion Athletic merged together and were promoted from the Cyrmu South division and into the Welsh top-flight after the 2018-19 campaign.

In their debut season in the top league of Welsh football, they just about avoided relegation on a points-per-game basis following the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

But they enjoyed a far more successful term in 2020/21, coming fourth.

Raiders' chairman Steve Harris explained how the fixture came about. 

"Penybont was a fixture I have been trying to get for a while as I have a great relationship with the club from living in South Wales previously," he said.

"I’ve known their commercial manager Wayne Anderson a long time and my nephew is also in there academy team.

"I thought it be great for our players to test themselves against a club from the Welsh Premier League and we will give them a warm welcome to Sixways .

"This will be Penybont’s last friendly fixture so they will come with a strong team as they start their quest to win the Welsh league and qualify for Europe."

They will provide the toughest test yet for the Raiders in pre-season, who drew 2-2 with Dudley Town last weekend.

Worcester were twice pegged back by their opponents and despite plenty of chances, they couldn't quite get the third goal to give them the victory. Taylor Randle and Jordan Stoddart were on target for Raiders, who begin their Hellenic League Division One campaign in just under two weeks time.

Sixways will host their 2021/22 league opener as Raiders face Newent Town on Saturday August 7.