AMBITIOUS manager Ally Pickering is already eyeing a top-five finish as his New Mills AFC side enter the unchartered waters of the Evo-Stik First Division South this weekend.
The Millers, last year’s North West Counties League Premier Division champions, travel to Leicestershire on Saturday (kick-off 3pm) to make their debut against Quorn, before entertaining Newcastle Town at Church Lane on Monday evening (kick-off 7.45pm).
Pickering looks set to be missing key players for the season opener, with Luke Horrocks suspended and Tony Barras, Carl Carey and the influential Carlos Meakin all injury doubts
But unfazed by this, the boss declared: “We have just got to get on with it. My ambitions are not going to change from one league to another.
“The good thing about this league (compared to the NWCFL) is you don’t have to win the league to have a chance of getting promoted, you just need to finish in the top five, so we will be aiming for the play-offs.
“New Mills have been there or thereabouts for the past two or three years so there will be a lot of teams wary of us.
“We are just going to go straight for it. There’s no point treading water. If we get nine points from our opening three games, it would really lay down a marker for the others.”
A weakened New Mills side ended the pre-season campaign in style last weekend, coming from behind to beat Evo-Stik First Division North side Salford City.
Pickering, who missed that game due to holiday, added: “It was a boost because they are in the North Division, and people keep telling me the North is stronger than the South.”