OLD Halesonians remain fully focused on a top four finish in Midlands One West this season.

It would signal a remarkable turnaround for the Wassell Grove side after suffering relegation from National 3 Midlands last term.

Director of rugby Dan Grant said: "Although results from last season would suggest a state of chaos, there was a great deal of work and planning going on behind the scenes.

"The most important thing was the fact we managed to retain all our players apart from Ethan Walker, who joined Bournville.

"We then set about rebuilding the squad and investing in the younger players.

"There's still a long way to go in the journey but already there has been signs of promise."

Grant admitted dismay at being unable to get many points from their previous three fixtures, which comprised of a slender 29-28 defeat at Sutton Coldfield followed by a 22-0 reverse against Whitchurch.

But Hales then pushed promotion chasing Bromsgrove every inch of the way before losing out 17-10.

Grant added: "We didn't get the result we wanted but there were plenty of positives to take. The fact we were still in the game right to the end was an excellent show."

Hales have brought in Worcester Warriors and Ireland under-20 hooker Niall Annette to work as forwards coach under head coach Matt Williams and the benefits are already beginning to show.

Hales host Droitwich this Saturday at Wassell Grove where victory could put them on the coat tails of the league leaders.

Grant said: "I envisage the top four sides breaking away at some point. We will try to make sure we're amongst them and then push on from there."