SWIFTS manager Mark Phillips says his side must “be at our best” if they are to get anything from a difficult season opener against Sporting Khalsa on Saturday.

Phillips’ side visit Khalsa in an FA Cup qualifying round on the back of a “mixed” pre-season and a heavy 4-0 defeat to Evesham United last Saturday.

He said: “Our pre-season has been mixed in terms of results.

“We have played Kidderminster, Stourbridge and Evesham who have been good tests but we have had people away which is not ideal.

“We’ve brought in Joel Caines from Wulfrunians and Nick MacPherson from Worcester Raiders this season and the new signings had bedded in well but the proof is in the pudding.

“Khalsa are going to be strong and it is going to be a difficult game so we are going to have to be at our best to get anything from it.”

Swifts start their league campaign away at Long Eaton the following week as they look to improve on their 13th-place finish last season.

Phillips said: “They are always strong at home so it is going to be a difficult game.

“The league this season will be stronger than last year I think with the teams that have come up and with Worcester City dropping down.

“We want to finish as high as we can but I do not want to set any targets.

“I’ll set three or four game targets as that is more realistic rather than over the whole season. We are a young squad and I am just looking to see progress really.”