WORCESTER Raiders manager Karl Gormley is enjoying watching his side show a different side to their game in the early stages of the Hellenic League Premier season.

Raiders secured another clean sheet in their 1-0 win over Westfields at Sixways on Tuesday evening, a result that sees them open up a three-point lead at the top of the table.

Their third league success in a row means they have 10 points out of a possible 12 to begin the 2023/24 campaign.

But what has really impressed manager Gormley is his side's ability to knuckle down and grind out matches, even when not at their very best.

"The way we have set-up this year means our forward players do have to do a lot more defensive work which doesn't always suit them," he said.

"But they are doing it for the team. Isaac (Cooper) and Bailey (Fuller) were probably our best players defensively, which you would probably never have dreamt of saying last year!

"But as a unit, as a team, they have dug in, especially in the second-half. We are over the moon with the result. One-nils, we will take them all day long.

"We aren't taking much notice of the league table at the minute, it isn't really worth the paper it is written on is it. But the performances, not just in the league and the FA Cup, but pre-season as well, we are over the moon with the whole squad.

"They have brought into the way we want to play. There is a lot of hard work being put in off the field. The lads are playing twice a week at the moment as well as training twice as well, so it's hard work but when you are getting the results like we are, it's all worth it."

Raiders went into the season as one of the favourites to be competing for the title in the division and their start in the first handful of games has strengthened those claims. 

In order to go and honour those predictions, Gormley believes his side will need a further 15 points compared to last season, when they came fourth and missed out on a top-two finish.

And the Worcester outfit have already gone part of the way to gaining those extra 15 points by beating two sides they lost to last season in Westfields and Hereford Pegasus.

"Moving forward, this season is such a massive opportunity for the lads," he added.

"Everything is in their hands; the players are there and off the field everything is being done for them to make life as easy and as comfortable as possible.

"It will be a battle, it will be tough but we think we need 15 points more than we got last year.

"So if Peggy (Hereford Pegasus) took six points off us and Westfields four last season, we are already eating into that in the early stages of this season taking six points off both of them."