AHEAD of their first ever North West Counties League game, Rylands player/co-manager Stuart Wellstead admits that, to a certain extent, they are “going in blind.”

Blues travel to Ellesmere Rangers on Saturday, kick off 3pm, for the opening game of their Division One South campaign.

Rylands are one of 13 new teams to enter the North West Counties League after a restructure and Wellstead, who picks the team alongside David McNabb, believes that could mean a tricky start to life at their new level.

However, he is confident the Gorsey Lane side can have a successful season and has set a big target for his players.

“We’re all massively excited, even if it’s a bit of an unknown,” he said.

“There’s 13 new teams, so we have to try and get as much of an advantage as we can.

“For a lot of the games, we’ll be going in blind, especially at the start so that means it could be quite difficult.

“We might not know too much about what we’re up against, but we’re looking forward to it.

“We know what we want to do. It is our first season and there are some established teams in this division.

“I think we will do well and I think we could at least be knocking on the door of the top six.

“How we start is massive. If we can get the confidence building from a good start, who knows what can happen?

“We need to get in the winning habit and keep it for as long as possible.”

Wellstead and McNabb have been busy reshaping the Blues squad, with only a handful of players left from the team that finished 11th in the Cheshire League Premier Division last season.

They are embarking on their new era with the backing of sports agent Paul Stretford, who is in the process of taking over the club.

Money has been spent to ensure Rylands Recreation Ground met the grading criteria for entry into the North West Counties League, but Wellstead says “silly money” is not being thrown at the playing squad.

“We’re building the foundations off the field, but now it’s time to do it on the field with a fresh start,” he said.

“There’s only really four or five players that are still here from last year, so we’ve had to build on that.

“It’s good to have some fresh faces around though, both on the pitch and in the dug-out.

“Paul’s not going to throw silly money at it, but we’re trying to progress as quick as we can.

“People who think we will be another Salford City are a bit wide of the mark. That certainly won’t be us.”

“We’ve done some really good business so far. We’re still looking at a few players to come in and stake a claim for a shirt.

“The lads at the minute are performing really well, so the shirts are there to lose.”

Blues wrapped up their pre-season campaign with an 2-0 defeat at Runcorn Linnets on Tuesday, having beaten neighbours Eagle Sports by the same scoreline on Saturday.