SWINDON Supermarine manager Dave Webb has admitted his club has been handed a tough start to life in the Evostick Southern League Division One South & West.

Marine will face Merthyr Town and Hungerford Town at the Webbs Wood Stadium as well as making the trip to local rivals Abingdon United inside the first month of the new campaign - and Webb recognised he will soon find out where his team stands amongst the rest of the division come mid-September.

Hungerford are well fancied for promotion while Merthyr, the club formed out of the ashes of liquidated Merthyr Tydfil in 2010, are also expected to challenge towards the top of the table.

And while he appreciated the scale of the task at hand, Webb insisted he was happy with such a stern examination of his playing resources early on in the 2012/13 season.

“It’s never going to be an easy start, whoever you’re playing, but the first game is against a team that’s very established, who went down due to financial irregularities and have now been promoted and will be one of the top teams in the league,” he said.

“They’ll be very strong and they’ll be one of the contenders to be up there all the way through the season.

“We’re at home, which is a good thing, and I imagine a lot of people will see it as a good thing that we’re playing a good team on the first day and hopefully bring in a good crowd.

“It’s an extremely tough game to start with and then second up we’ve got Abingdon away, and that’s a bit of a local derby as well.

“And then we’ve got Hungerford in the fifth game, and they’re one of the strongest sides, so we’ve got to face three of the better teams in the first five games.”

Webb’s tenure at Marine has started with a 2-2 draw with Wantage and a 5-0 thrashing of Shrivenham in the club’s two pre-season friendlies to date, and the boss is in high spirits as the new campaign approaches at a rapid rate.

“It’s really exciting just having the fixtures come out now and it can start to feel really close,” he said.

“We know in the middle of August we’ll be playing competitive football again and we’re looking forward to it.

“We’ve had a couple of friendlies and everything is starting to fall into place and hopefully we’ll continue to do well when the season starts.”