MALVERN Town boss Les Jones stressed his target for 2018 will be to go for the West Midlands (Regional) League Premier Division title.
The Hillsiders ended 2017 fourth in the table following last Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with fifth-placed Bewdley Town.
Jones’ side are two points behind the leading pair of Tividale and Black Country Rangers who have played one game less and four games more respectively.
Malvern have to play Tividale on January 20 and Rangers on February 3 knowing victories will be vital to their promotion hopes.
A trip to third-placed Wolverhampton Sporting Community comes on March 10.
“We want to be challenging for the title this year, there is no doubting that,” said Jones.
“At the end of Christmas we wanted to be in the mix and that is what we are so there is something to build on.
“It has been a tough end to the year with all the travelling but we are exactly where we need to be.
“We have got a massive game against Tividale coming up towards the end of this month and we then have to play Wolverhampton Sporting Community later in the season at their place.
“There is plenty to be positive about and hopefully we can still be in the mix come April.”
A last-gasp penalty from Aaron Griffiths ensured Bewdley snatched a share of the spoils at the HDAnywhere Community Stadium at the weekend after Josh Hunt had given the Hillsiders a sixth-minute lead.
The stalemate followed the 1-1 draw at Wednesfield on December 23.
Lewis Platt was on target for Malvern but Adam Skeldon levelled for the hosts.
But Jones felt his side deserved to come away with at least a victory over the festive period, despite his side extending their unbeaten run to ten games.
“The penalty given to Bewdley was rather dubious,” said Jones.
“But, that said, we had enough chances in the second half to put the game beyond doubt in the second half so we only have ourselves to blame.
“It was good to see our unbeaten run continue but I was very disappointed we could not pick up at least three points over Christmas.”
Malvern will be looking to return to winning ways on Saturday when they make the trip to AFC Bridgnorth.
The Hillsiders ran out 4-0 winners in the home fixture, thanks to goals from Matthew Turner (2), Shaun Smith and Kyonn Evans, but Jones is expecting a tougher encounter this time around.
“The slope at Bridgnorth’s ground gives them a tremendous advantage,” he added.
“If you look at the records over the last few seasons, the majority of their wins come at home so there is no doubting we will have to be at our best to win.”