LITTLE Oakley manager Sean Tynan says he and his players will relish the challenge of two very tough opening fixtures.

The Acorns kick-off their Thurlow Nunn League campaign with a home match against much-fancied Hashtag United tomorrow, followed by a trip to Coggeshall United on Tuesday.

Both sides will be a tough nut to crack.

However, Tynan is looking forward to the games and believes his side have every chance, if they are “well-organised and well-drilled”.

“They’re going to be very tough opening matches but we welcome challenges like this – that’s why we want to play step six football,” he said.

“Hashtag will be among the favourites to win the division.

“Rumour has it that they’ve got a healthy budget and I guess they might come to our place expecting to win.

“But as long as we turn up and are well-organised and well-drilled, I can guarantee them a very tough afternoon.

“The important thing is to show we can compete and as long as that’s the case, win, lose or draw, I’ll be positive.

“It would certainly be lovely to get our first points, or point, on the board, though.

“It took us a while to get off the mark last season and we don’t want to wait as long this time.”

Oakley will be without Ash Wood (work commitments) and Luke Mayhew (serving a suspension from last season) for tomorrow’s 3pm kick-off at the Memorial Ground.

Former Wivenhoe Town defender Jay Barker, who signed for the club this week, is available, though, and is expected to make his competitive debut for the Acorns.

Oakley finished their pre-season campaign with a 4-3 victory against East Bergholt on Tuesday night.

“It was a very good work-out,” added Tynan.

“There were lots of positives and everyone looked fresh, enthusiastic and raring to go.”