Head coach Nick Easter says his Wimbledon RFC side go into the London Division One South curtain raiser this weekend in a better position than he expected.

Wimbledon go to Sidcup on Saturday looking to improve on their fourth place finish last term, and Easter wants his team to be in the mix for the promotion come the end of February.

However, despite lauding the players’ efforts in pre-season, Easter says there is still room for improvement.

But the Harlequins number eight has also had enough of training, and is anxious to get the real business underway.

“Pre-season has gone well and we [with assistant coach Tim Payne] feel we are ahead of where we expected to be at this time,” he said.

“We’ve had a couple of pre-season games against sides lower down the leagues, we wanted to test ourselves against bigger teams but that’s not happened.

“There are still things to work on such as the organisational side of things and dealing with non-attendees at training – but that has been better over the past few weeks as we get closer to the season.”

He added: “We have done a lot of training and we’re keen to get going. We need a good start, and I know last year we performed well against teams around the top of the table.

“We need to make sure we’re in the mix for promotion come the end of February so the lads have something to play for.”

Wimbledon have lost Joey Nanai, Carl Roche and Richard Stewart over the summer, but recruited Ti Pairama (centre), brothers Jack and Ben Sawbridge and Ben Bowling (back row) and Kit Cox (second row).

There have also been changes to the coaching staff with Neil Hallett taking on the role of backs coach with assistance from James Ogilvie-Bull, while Shawn Renwick is the new forwards coach.