THE FA Cup returns this weekend as league football takes a breather, but both Worcester City and Worcester Raiders can ill afford to take it easy.

Both have started their Hellenic League Premier campaigns well, with Raiders sitting top of the table with three wins out of four, and City in fourth with two wins from three.

The highly-anticipated first-ever derby between the pair is only two weeks away but for now, focus switches to the FA Cup Preliminary round.

City face a trip over the border to Hellenic Premier rivals Westfields FC, whilst Raiders are off to Shifnal Town of the Midland Football League Premier. 

Both managers - Chris Cornes and Karl Gormley - will be keen to keep their respective unbeaten runs intact, but it will be anything less than straightforward for both.

City come into the weekend on the back of Wednesday night's 3-0 win at Longlevens in the league and after Saturday's 4-2 victory at Cinderford, Cornes' men are in a nice rhythm, which the manager is keen to maintain.

"Westfields are a very good side and will be very difficult to beat," he said. "It's a lovely place to go to and the pitch is beautiful.

"We just need to keep going. I will be thinking about team selection all week and that's the difficult thing for me, to keep everyone happy and give everyone the game time they want.

"But you are always going to get some who want to play more but even if they are unhappy about not playing, they are still chuffed for the lads who are playing and playing well, which sums up this squad at the minute."

As for their city rivals Raiders, they beat Westfields in mid-week 1-0 to maintain their spot at the top of the table. 

Boss Gormley has been massively impressed by the start his side have made to the 2023/24 campaign but is well aware of the challenge ahead at Shifnal on Saturday. 

"Shifnal are a quality side, a lot of good players and they will be looking forward to it just as much as we are," he said.

"But we won't go over there fearing them. The lads are buzzing in the changing room at the minute.

"We have a coach full of supporters and friends going up to Shifnal for the game to support the players. Hopefully, we can go over there and make it a good day out for the whole club"