ROB Small cannot wait for Bowers & Pitsea’s first ever Isthmian Premier League campaign to get underway tomorrow.

Bowers are set to welcome Wingate & Finchley to the Len Salmon Stadium for the curtain-raiser.

And Small admits Bowers’ current position is a far cry from where they were when he took over in 2014.

“I feel like I have been waiting for this weekend since we won the Isthmian North title against Dereham Town back in April,” said the Bowers boss.

“Seeing the constitution and our name among the teams at this level was special and it hit home a bit more when the fixtures were released.

“Stepping up to this level feels very surreal and I get a bit nostalgic thinking about my first game in charge when we played Tower Hamlets in the Essex Senior League in front of three people.

“But we need to remember that, although we are now playing at a new level, these are still games of football and it is 11 against 11.

“As daunting as it is, I’m confident we can step up to the challenge.”

And Small is pleased to be starting a historic campaign on home soil.

“It is the first time in our history in the Isthmian League that we will start the season at home,” added Small.

“We have been away on the first day of every other campaign, but it feels quite fitting that we will start at home in our first ever term at this level.

“Our record at home has been good in recent seasons and we will try to take that history into this level.”

Bowers finished 12 points clear at the top of the Isthmian North standings last term.

Small has since strengthened his side by bringing in the likes of Callum Chafer and Kenzer Lee, who have Isthmian Premier League experience.

And the Bowers chief has backed his squad despite a pre-season of mixed fortunes.

“We know the players can compete at step four because they won the league at a canter last season,” admitted Small.

“It’s just a question of who can establish themselves at this level.

“Pre-season has been fragmented because we have not been able to get everyone to the same level of fitness at the same time due to injuries and players being unavailable, so it has been frustrating.

“Some players are behind the curve and we have definitely had better pre-seasons, but we have a good group who have proven that they will turn up when it matters.”