DARREN Byfield believes he has a tough act to follow after taking over the managerial reins at Alvechurch.

The former Aston Villa star is under no illusions about the task ahead after arriving at Church from Walsall Wood.

Byfield is no stranger to Step 3 football having previously been in charge at both Redditch United and Stratford Town.

But Byfield accepts he has a big rebuilding job ahead of him, especially after a large number of players have since followed former boss Ian Long to Stourbridge.

Byfield said: "Alvechurch over-achieved last season and finished up punching massively above their weight.

"But there's no reason as to why we cannot keep on building.

"Having reached the play-off final last season, people will be looking at Alvechurch in a different light.

"I want to make sure we finish as high as we possibly can.

"I've spoken to all the players from last season, but I won't really know who I have on board until we return to pre-season training on June 29. Then I'll know what I have to bring in."

Church commence their pre-season programme on July 9 with a trip to Littleton.

Other notable friendlies include a home fixture with West Bromwich Albion on July 13 followed by a visit from National North side Leamington on July 20.

Church make the short journey to Halesowen Town on July 30 followed by a home game against Evesham United on August 3.

However the proposed contest with Aberystwyth Town which was scheduled for July 27 has been called off.