Anthony O’Riordan believes his Colchester Rugby Club squad are capable of launching a sustained promotion challenge, this season.

The Mill Road club begin a brand new season of London One North rugby tomorrow when they host Diss.

Colchester just missed out on an immediate return to the National League season when they finished third.

But Colchester’s director of rugby O’Riordan says he has been extremely encouraged by their pre-season – and is confident about their chances, this season.

He said: “It’s the most positive I’ve felt, going into a new season.

“We’re not an old team – we have youth on our side but some of them feel that now is the time to go back to National Three, because it will in turn help our youngsters.

“They don’t want them to be thrown into the side looking to go up and that is a measure of how serious they are about getting to where they want to get.

“They’re good guys at a great club.

“Consistency is key.

“There’s not one part of me that doesn’t think that we’re the best team in the league, on our day.

“I think we proved by finishing third last season and being unbeaten at home that we’re one of the strongest sides in the London League across the south.

“It always comes down to availability and consistency, both in training and selection.

“Last year, we proved that we’re capable of getting back to the National League.

“There’s always a risk when you go down that it might be the beginning of a dip in performance over a couple of seasons but in performing how we did, we proved that we’re not far away from getting back up to the National League.”

Colchester went through the whole of the last campaign unbeaten at home and O’Riordan wants them to strive for the same record, this time around.

“Our home record is very strong and teams know that they are coming to a ground where we haven’t lost for over a season,” he said.

“Diss are no idiots – they’re well established and have a good base and foundation.

“But I would back our boys over anyone.”

Colchester finished a productive pre-season programme with a 38-19 victory at National League Two outfit Bury St Edmunds.

Prior to that, the Blacks were beaten 36-24 by National League Three side Westcliff in another friendly.