BROMSGROVE Sporting boss Paul Smith believes his squad could be destined for great things this campaign following impressive pre-season friendly victories against higher league opposition.
Following their 1-0 victory over Midland League Premier side Sporting Khalsa on Saturday courtesy of Sean Brain, Smith’s Rouslers secured a comprehensive 5-1 win over fellow Premier side Walsall Wood at the Victoria Ground last night (Tuesday).
Against a side which featured former Alvechurch players Sam Williams and Karl Edwards, both of whom Smith wanted to bring to Sporting, the Rouslers dominated proceedings as two goals from Chris Lloyd and one apiece for Chris Conway, Tony Clarke and Brain fired them towards victory.
The Midland League Division One season is now just two weeks away and following two seasons of runners-up heartache, Sporting begin their title charge with a home fixture against a Southam United outfit who held the Rouslers to a 1-1 draw at the start of the last campaign.
Sporting then travel to Littleton on August 17 before welcoming potential title rivals AFC Hinckley to the Victoria Ground on August 23 followed by a trip to Cadbury Athletic on August 27.
Trips to Heather St Johns (August 29), Stafford Town (September 3), Coventry Copsewood (September 17) and Pelsall Villa (October 1) are also on the cards.
Smith said: “The squad I have here is a really talented group and to come away with dominant victories against Khalsa and Walsall Wood, both of whom will fancy their chances of winning their respective league title next season, bodes well and the players could be destined to do great things but they have to keep their feet on the ground, listen to instructions and work hard.
“It was not nice seeing the first set of fixtures for the new season as having six of the first eight away from home will provide us with a huge test but eventually we’ll play catch up and have a string of home games.
“However, I am more than confident with this group of players, if they do what they are asked to do all season like they have been throughout the summer, they will win games and fire us to the league.
“It’s very important we hit the ground running as last season against Southam we smashed them on the day but missing chances proved costly for us.
“Southam got the sucker-punch goal against us but this year we’ll be wanting to rectify that and as the players have got a never say die attitude this season, something I have not seen before, it bodes well and it’s exciting for me as the manager to see this.”
Sporting return to pre-season action on Saturday when they welcome Southern League Premier outfit Stratford Town to the Victoria Ground (3pm KO) before making the trip to Northern League Premier side Halesowen Town on Tuesday (7.45pm KO).