BROMSGROVE Sporting manager Adrian Mander has described his team’s start as “really tough”.

The Rouslers kick-off the Midlands Football League Division One with a home clash against hotly-tipped Highgate United on Saturday, August 2.

Atherstone Town visit the Victoria Ground on August 9, while Sporting go to red hot favourites for the title Hinckley AFC on August 23.

Mander said: “It’s a really tough start to the season.

“I think if we managed to get through August with maximum points it would be Christmas.

“The Highgate game is a good match and one all the fans will be looking forward to and you have to play all of the best teams at some point.

“But to have so many in one month is going to be a big test for us.”

Bromsgrove step up their pre-season preparations with two testing friendlies over the next seven days.

Tomorrow they entertain West Midlands Premier champions Lye Town before rounding off their summer programme at home to Tividale, who won the Midland Alliance last season and earned promotion to the Evo-Stik Northern League, next Tuesday (both matches 7.45pm ko).

Mander expects a big improvement after watching his side go down 6-2 against free-flowing Redditch United at The Valley Stadium at the weekend.

Bromsgrove struggled to cope with the pace of Jamie Molyneux and Jermaine Hylton, who both scored.

Dave Bridgwater, Ricardo Reid and Jamie Spencer also chipped in with goals.

Mander said: “These are two very good games to finish off pre-season, both won their leagues last season and are looking forward to exciting seasons in new divisions.

“I will want a big improvement from the players because the defending against Redditch was not very good.

“Redditch finished tenth in Southern Premier and are a good side but we conceded some very poor goals.”

Sporting are also hoping to add a centre back and left back this week.

Bromsgrove Sporting MFL Division One August fixtures: Sat 02 Highgate United H; Wed 06 Cadbury Athletic A; Sat 09 Atherstone Town H; Tue 12 Littleton H; Sat 16 Bewdley Town H (FA Cup preliminary); Sat 23 Hinckley AFC A; Mon 25 Pilkington XXX A.