Corinthian-Casuals’ Manager James Bracken is confident that his side can compete at their highest level in the club’s history as the Tolworth outfit prepare for the new season.

Bracken’s side have produced fine performances as they warm up for life in the Bostik League Premier following their promotion in the summer.

A narrow 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace’s under-23s was followed up with a fine 2-1 win over Bristol Rovers’ Development side and 3-0 over Kent namesakes, Corinthian.

“We’ve been busy this summer, as all non league managers will tell you,” said Bracken. “For me, it’s the busiest time of the year ensuring that when we return, we have the quality that we want and to be ready for the season starting.

“It’s been successful. I didn’t waste my time on too many people that didn’t want to be a part of this. I’ve had a great response though. We’ve kept together most of the squad from last season which was key. I didn’t want another re-build after the past two seasons. That might’ve been a bit too far, especially stepping up a level.

“The boys have worked hard and the new lads that’ve joined have added to the group well and everyone’s gelled together nicely.”

Casuals open up their season with a trip to bookies favourites Margate. Three days later, they entertain playoff semi-finalists Folkestone Invicta at King George’s Arena. Bracken is under no illusions about how tough the start of the campaign is for the amateur side.

“When we were promoted, I didn’t really pay too much attention to the final league table of the division we were entering. I just looked at getting the best team I could. It might sound naïve but I didn’t look at it until the fixtures were released. I went through the games ahead thinking ‘that’s a tough game, that’s a tough game.’ “These are all proper, well established football clubs. No disrespect to the league below, but some of the sides we’ve played are village teams punching above their weight. There’s none of that in the Bostik Premier.

“Whereas last year we could’ve played at 60-70% of our capability and still pick up three points, I’m under no illusions that this season we have to be at 80 to 90 or even 100% to get the win. It’s my job to ensure we’re hitting those levels more regularly than not.

“Of course we can compete at the next level. That’s been the main focus this summer. We get the side ready to compete right from the first game and every match after that.

“I’m not saying we’re going to run away and win the league but if we can be competitive, tweak some fine margins and don’t give away soft goals, then who knows what we’re capable of.”

Casuals face Southern League Premier side Staines Town on Saturday in their last friendly before the season kicks off on Saturday 11th August with a trip to Margate.