PLYMOUTH Parkway have been tipped by Westbury United boss Neil Kirkpatrick as favourites for the upcoming Toolstation League Premier Division campaign, which gets under way this weekend.

Westbury start their campaign with a trip south to face Devon’s Buckland Athletic this weekend, who last season finished ninth after winning 17 of their 38 fixtures.

Bridgwater Town, Bitton and Wiltshire neighbours Bradford Town have also been highlighted as danger teams by Kirkpatrick, who admits his team left a proportion of their efforts on the field last season after a struggled conclusion to their 2018-19 campaign.

He said: “Last season we smashed our targets out of the park. But, the position we got ourselves into, we all feel like we left something out there.

“We fell away in the second half of the season, and we know the reasons why.

“It will be a competitive division this year – Tavistock and Exmouth are strong additions to the league.

“Bridgwater have really strengthened, Bradford have invested heavily as have Bitton.

“It will be a long and tough season. We know we’re underdogs every week, and that’s how we like it.”

Kirkpatrick has departed with two players over the summer, with Callum Demkiv and Ian Jeffers both joining Melksham Town.

In their place, the Westbury boss has drafted in Sam Jordan from Paulton Rovers, Matt Jones from Bradford and Ryan Bole from Devizes Town.

Recruitment has given Kirkpatrick reason to be encouraged ahead of the season’s kick-off.

But he admits the issue of tracking down players amid the summer holidays has made his life trickier.

He added: “It’s been a positive summer, the only problem we’ve had is the usual issue of people being on holiday while we’re trying to bed down a side.

“It’s tricky to get players to play the way you want them to when the squad is changing.”

With regards to season ambitions, Kirkpatrick remained realistic.

He said: “Clearly we want to win it, but we know there are some very good sides in the division.

“Plymouth Parkway will probably be favourites. We can’t compete financially with the other sides in the division, some teams are spending a fortune on players.

“We’re working on hard on making our players fitter and improving team spirit.”