SOUTHEND Saxons director of rugby Josh Ward is setting his sights high this season.

Saxons kick off the Regional Two Anglia campaign with a trip to Woodford this weekend.

And Ward wants it to be the start of a memorable season for his side.

“Our hopes are pretty clear and obvious,” said Ward.

“As a club we need and want to get promoted.

“We appreciate the challenge in front of us and every week we need to be on it. In all honesty that’s where we have struggled in previous seasons, it’s that consistency factor.

“We back ourselves against anyone on our day but it’s about being present in the moment and making sure we’re accurate every week.

“If we do that then we’ll be in a pretty good place to compete.”

Southend finished fourth in the table last time around. But Ward now feels the squad has far more strength in depth.

“We’re pleased with how the squad looks,” said Ward.

“We’ve probably got the most quality in depth we’ve had since we started so competition is fierce and everyone is chomping at the bit already to get stuck in.”

“We’ve had very few out the door.

“Some have left for life reasons in terms of age and family but we haven’t lost many at all.”

And Ward is also pleased to have welcomed some new signings.

“We’re pleased with who has come in and a number of players approached us which is always pleasing,” said Ward.

“It shows they’re observing what we’re doing and they’re excited by it too.

“A couple of senior lads have come in and have got good minutes in pre-season.”

Southend played three warm up fixtures ahead of Saturday’s opener.

And Ward took plenty of positives from all of the outings.

“Pre-season is never a fun-time but I’m really pleased with where we’re at,” said Ward.

“We’re in a much better place than where we were this time last year in terms of what we’ve covered and how we’re playing.

“We’ve had some tough games but we wanted that.

“Beckenham was a good exercise and so was playing Westcliff.

“As much as it was a pre-season game we obviously wanted to win so to lose to the last play was unfortunate.

“But on the flip side we took a lot of youngsters over to play and, up against a side like that, we were pretty pleased upon reflection.”

Saxons then beat Rochford Hundred 40-28 in their final friendly of the summer. And Ward was particularly pleased with the performance.

“It was a great night for the club,” said Ward.

“They had a few missing and so did we but it was two teams with good players working hard for each other.

“It was a good spectacle for the crowd that was down and to get the win was nice for the club holistically.”

But attention immediately turned to Saturday’s opener at Woodford.

“We’re ready to tear in and get stuck into Woodford but on their day they’re a capable side,” said Ward.

“They came here in February and deserved to win but we want to get off to good start.”