HALESOWEN boss Paul Smith has challenged his players to force their way into his starting line-up in time for the new campaign.

Smith is happy with the group he has assembled at the Grove over the summer after veteran forward Lee Hughes took his squad to 19 last week.

The Yeltz started pre-season training last week and begin their friendly programme with the visit of Solihull this Saturday (3pm kick-off).

Smith now wants his players to force his hand when it comes to his starting 11 when the Southern League Division One Central season kicks off next month.

He said: "It's going very well at the moment and we're pleased with the 19 very good players we have brought together.

"It's been a pleasing start for us. Years gone by when I used to play players would come back in all sort of states but in this day and age they are keeping themselves really fit over the summer.

"It means we have already been able to tone down the fitness side of things a little and start working with the ball, which is a massive positive.

"Bringing in seven from Redditch has helped because they already know each other and settled in straight away. Overall, everything has come together brilliantly.

"I'm really looking forward to our first friendly now and it's up to the 19 players we have to stake their claim for a place in the team.

"I'm really happy with everyone we have and would be fine if the season started tomorrow. There is still room to add one or two if something outstanding arrived that we couldn't turn down."

The only player to miss out when friendly action does get underway will be George Forsyth. He is still suffering from a foot injury and can't do contact work for at least another fortnight.

Entry for Saturday's friendly with Solihull at the Grove will cost £5 for adults, £3 for concessions and £1 for under-18s.