BROMSGROVE Sporting boss Keith Draper believes his players have stepped up to the rigours of the Midland Combination Premier Division.

The Rouslers opened their account since promotion from Division One with a 3-0 win over Pelsall Villa at the Victoria Ground on Saturday.

The result was hot on the heels of the 1-0 opening day loss to Atherstone, where Sporting paid the price for not hitting the back of the net.

But Draper believes the improvement in terms of opposition and facilities has brought the best out of his squad.

He said: “I think the players we have brought in like Chris Thurbon, Chris Morrison, Danny Deehan and James Blake have improved our squad and the lads we retained from last season have also relished the improvement and stepped it up.

“We learned against Atherstone that if we don’t take our chances we will be punished.

“But I am delighted with how we have started and if we can keep the Victoria Ground a fortress and pick up results away from home then I have a feeling we’ll have a good season.”

Draper was buoyed by Saturday’s comprehensive win over Villa, sealed by goals for Jon Rogers, Deehan and Joe Brookes.

After last night’s trip to Racing Club Warwick, Sporting then face another promoted side at home in the shape of Lichfield City (3pm kick-off).

“We could have won by more against Pelsall but in the final 15 minutes we passed the ball around and looked in control.

“Lichfield is going to be a test for us, they haven’t had the best of starts but it’s another challenge.”

Meanwhile, Sporting have been boosted after James Turk and Chris Conway turned down offers to move up the non-league pyramid.

Turk was wanted by Halesowen Town and Alvechurch were after Conway but both opted to stay at Sporting, however, striker Stuart Hall has left the club.

Draper said: “I told Chris and James that it might sound good playing for a higher ranked team but they will be just a cog in the machine rather than a big part of the club here.”