I think this is a big season for Kettering Town.
Indeed, their supporters would rightly tell me that every season is a big one for their club but I am intrigued about the forthcoming campaign at Latimer Park.
Given the expectations of the club last season, which were made abundantly clear in public, it’s fair to say that almost everyone agreed that it was something of a failure.
A dreadful start on their own pitch ultimately proved to be the Poppies’ undoing.
Here’s a simple fact, no team that waits until October to pick up their first home league win of the season is going to win the title.
As it turned out, it ultimately cost them a shot at the play-offs as well. There was the odd flirt with the top-five places but in the end Kettering left themselves with too much to do.
The frustration boiled over at various points as a large part of the fanbase called for manager Marcus Law to be sacked but the club’s board chose to back him throughout the campaign and into this new one.
That makes this season a big one for Law as well.
It certainly wasn’t all bad last season, the Poppies showed more than enough signs that they weren’t far away from being among the promotion contenders.
So what is needed to ensure they are up there this time?
Well, the home form is an obvious one. Latimer Park does have its downfalls but there can be no excuses. The pitch is getting better each season and the home support is larger than most in the division.
Teams will come to make it hard again and why shouldn’t they? Kettering simply have to hit the ground running at home and ensure they have the knowhow to break down resilient defences.
Law’s moves in the transfer market have, on the whole, been pretty good. Ben Milnes has won this division before, Lindon Meikle has been there and done it all in the non-League game and the likes of Rhys Hoenes and Michael Richens have looked impressive in pre-season.
With Aaron O’Connor, Rene Howe and, to start with, Peterborough United youngster Mathew Stevens at the club, I don’t expect goals to be a problem.
It’s the other end of the pitch that let Kettering down so badly last season. The number of dreadful and costly mistakes was a massive concern and they have to be eradicated this time around.
The heart of the defence is an area that has given Law a headache over the summer as efforts to strengthen have led to dead ends thus far. But, even without any additions, the same individual errors can’t be allowed to happen again.
If you believe the bookies, Kettering aren’t fancied to challenge at the top end of the table this season.
With Hereford and their large fanbase arriving in the Evo-Stik South League Premier, they are expected to go well while the usual challengers will, no doubt, be up there again.
Expectations within the fanbase also might not be as big as normal, certainly at this stage.
And that might just work in the Poppies’ favour.
They will get a big early test of their credentials at highly-fancied Slough Town in the season-opener on Saturday.
And Law could do with a good start, something that has evaded him since he returned to the club, otherwise those voices of discontent will only get louder a lot quicker than last season...