Halstead Town are facing a tough summer – but that’s exactly what manager Mark Benterman wants.

Benterman has arranged a testing schedule of pre-season games, with their opening four coming against Ryman League opposition, including two against premier division sides Billericay Town and Witham Town.

But that’s exactly the type of test that Benterman wants as he wants to push his players so they will be ready for big games that come once the Thurlow Nunn League division one season kicks off on August 9.

Benterman said: “The thing this year is that all these higher-placed teams have come to us asking to play us because of what we achieved last year.

“That’s a great accolade for us in itself.

“We’ve got two Ryman premier sides to start with, then two division one north sides following and our lads know they have to perform."

See this week's paper for the full version of this story and more about Halstead's summer player movements.