WESTCLIFF skipper Ian Dartnell insists his side will not just be making up the numbers in National League Three London & SE this season.

Westcliff worked their way back up at the first attempt last season following relegation from the national leagues.

But Dartnell is confident they will more than hold their own this time around.

“We’re not just looking to stay up, we want to be top five or higher and we’re really going for it,” said the 25-year-old.

“We know it’s a big step up and there’s a big gap between the level we played in last season (London One North) and the one we will be in this year.

“It’s more physical, more aggressive and it’s far quicker too.

“But we’re looking forward to getting underway.”

Westcliff saw off Romford and Gidea Park in their first pre-season friendly before being beaten 54-5 by National Two South side Chinnor in their last outing.

However, Dartnell feels Westcliff will have learnt vital lessons from that convincing defeat.

“I think the Chinnor game emphasised how much we need to step up,” said the back row.

“But on the whole it’s been a good pre-season.

“We’ve brought in a couple of new players and we’ve developed the ones who were already here as well.

“The lads have all done plenty of work in the gym and everyone looks fitter than they did at the end of last season which is good.”

Westcliff kick off the new campaign at Barnes tomorrow.

And Dartnell knows they will be tough first opponents away from home.

“Barnes are a tidy side,” said Dartnell.

“They’re fast out wide and can certainly pose problems.

“But we worked hard all last season in order to get back to playing at this level and we can’t wait for the games to get started now.”