James Le Masurier has set his Raunds Town squad a top-four target in the ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Division One this season.
The Shopmates get the new campaign under way with a clash against Oakham United at Kiln Park tomorrow (Saturday).
The Raunds boss says his club have enjoyed a “stable and comfortable” summer with the majority of the squad that finished eighth last time out staying on.
And he is now hoping they can follow in the footsteps of ON Chenecks, who were promoted behind runaway champions Peterborough Sports back in April.
“It’s probably been one of the more stable and comfortable summers we have had,” the Shopmates boss said.
“We haven’t really lost anyone and we’ve been able to add two or three to the squad.
“It’s been quite settled for the club and the squad.
“In years gone by there’s always been teams with big budgets and you saw it with Peterborough Sports last season. I am sure they will be in top six in the Premier Division.
“But ON Chenecks showed what can happen with committed players and a hard work ethic.
“I would like to think we aren’t too far off being like that ourselves so the target is try to finish in the top four.
“There are the unknown quantities like Melton Town and Daventry Town who both have budgets.
“But we have a committed squad and a good team spirit and I am hoping that can push us on this season.”
Le Masurier got a first-hand look at this weekend’s opponents after they claimed a 7-2 win at Rushden & Higham United in their first game of the season last Saturday.
But the Raunds boss is adamant his team have nothing to fear.
“I watched them at Rushden last weekend and they have got some new players and they have real pace on the counter-attack,” Le Masurier added.
“I am not concerned by how many they won by because I know Rushden have had a tough summer and will take time to settle down.
“As far as Oakham are concerned, we beat them 4-0 and drew 2-2 with them in the two games last season. So, going on that, we don’t need to fear them or anyone else.”
There is a local derby to kick-off the new season at London Road as Whitworth take on Thrapston Town while Burton Park Wanderers, who finished bottom in the last campaign, take on Buckingham Town at Latimer Park.
Ian Benjamin’s first league game in charge of Stewarts & Lloyds is at Lutterworth Athletic while Irchester United kick off their new season at Woodford United.