THERE is a buoyant mood at Sixways ahead of the new season for Worcester Raiders. 

Having competed at the top end of the Hellenic League Premier in the previous campaign, they will now be looking to go one better and gain promotion out of Step 5 and into Step 4 for the first-time ever. 

Karl Gormley's Raiders could not be heading into the new campaign in better form. They won all eight of their pre-season matches; including wins over Step 3 sides Redditch United and Halesowen Town and Step 4 outfit Westbury United. 

They fired in 28 goals over the summer and head to newly-promoted Pershore full of confidence according to captain Sam Carey. 

"We are confident going into that game but know it’s going to be a tough battle," he said.

"They have a good squad and they showed how good they were last season but we are not going to fear them, but we will enjoy it and embrace the challenge. 

Worcester News: Worcester Raiders' captain Sam Carey looks ahead to the new seasonWorcester Raiders' captain Sam Carey looks ahead to the new season (Image: Through The Lens)

"I think our structure has improved and we have improved off the ball. We know we have the quality going forward so we can always rely on that but we also know we have to be tougher to beat and we have worked hard on that."

Whilst Pershore will prove a tough test for Raiders first game up, the visitors will be keen to lay down a marker for the rest of the league and start the campaign strongly. 

Gormley's men are one of the title contenders alongside the likes of Worcester City and Corsham Town but can ill-afford a slow start if they are to go on and make it out of this league. 

"Last year, on the whole, we had to be pleased with how we did in our first year at Step 5,” said manager Gormley.

Worcester News: Worcester Raiders' manager Karl Gormley wants promotionWorcester Raiders' manager Karl Gormley wants promotion (Image: Through The Lens)

"But now after experiencing a full season at this level, we are going for promotion whether that is through the play-offs or winning the title, that is our aim.

"This year the league is going to be a lot tougher with City and Pershore coming in and the likes of Corsham and other top sides from last season still there. It is going to be a difficult league to win.

"But we have kept hold of the players we had last year which was our main priority but we have also managed to bring some quality in as well. I think the squad we have this year is much stronger and so we are really confident of having another successful season.”