MANAGER Paul Smith has urged his players to hit the ground running when they kick off their league campaign against Southam United tomorrow (Saturday).
The Rouslers are expected to be one of the favourites to secure promotion from Midland Football League Division One after falling just short last season.
Two of Sporting’s six defeats suffered in the 2014/15 campaign came in August, with their first loss coming on the opening day of the season against eventual champions Highgate United.
Although these losses came before Smith arrived at the Victoria Ground, he admitted they had a big impact on the outcome of the season, with Highgate edging runners up Sporting by just three points.
And the Bromsgrove boss insisted it was important his side got off to a flier as they bid to go one better than last season.
“History will tell you sides that have won this league have only lost a handful of games all season, so it is very important that you don’t lose games early on,” Smith said.
“If you do, you have got to be playing catch up for the remainder of the year so the start is very important and the players will be made very well aware of that.
“I am really pleased with the way the lads have gelled and have bought into what we are trying to do. They have worked their socks off and hopefully they will get just reward.”
However, Smith, who is set to be without Sam Wills and Luke Dugmore for the first three games due to suspension, believes his side have been handed a tough opener.
“Southam have been in touch with three of our players and made them very handsome offers, so I expect them to be up there this year with the budget they have got,” he said.
“They will be coming here looking to make a statement themselves, so it will be tough, but we will be ready for it.”
He added: “I want to go one better than last year. But that said expectation need to be kept in-check because there are a lot of clubs paying out a hell of a lot more money than us.
“Hinckley are throwing everything at it this year and Lichfield have signed two of our very good players so you have to look at them (as contenders).
“Bolehall look like they will be very strong again this year. Heather St Johns and Southam have made offers to our players, so they have to come into the equation as well.
“It’s wide open this year which makes the start even more crucial.”