Andy Peaks is looking forward to stepping things up with AFC Rushden & Diamonds over the next few days.
Diamonds opened their pre-season campaign with a comfortable 7-0 victory over Hayden Road landlords Rushden & Higham United in the annual Chris Ruff Memorial Cup match last week.
But bigger tests are now coming for Peaks and his players as they gear up for the new BetVictor Southern League Premier Division Central campaign on August 10.
Diamonds take on Sky Bet League Two side Leyton Orient at Hayden Road tonight (Thursday) before heading to Vanarama National League South outfit Oxford City on Saturday.
And boss Peaks said: “They are two really good tests, which will give us an idea of where we are at this stage.
“I felt a bit sorry for Rushden & Higham last week because we got a bit fortunate with the two early goals and they couldn’t recover from it.
“It’s funny how football works because we were crying out for that bit of fortune in the final 10 games of last season and didn’t get it and then we got extremely lucky in the first 10 minutes of our first pre-season friendly.
“It was a good night, I think everyone enjoyed it and all the lads who featured for us did well.
“But we have to be realistic and we know there are bigger tests in front of us. That starts with Leyton Orient and I expect it to be just as hard at Oxford City.”
Peaks will once again give a number of trialists a chance to shine after some impressed in the victory over the Lankies.
But the manager is wary that he needs to build up the minutes into his squad’s legs.
“My aim will be to use 20 players again in both fixtures,” he added.
“We will mix it up a bit and give some of them an hour in one game and half-an-hour in the other just so we are building the minutes up.
“But the trialists who have been with us did well last week and now we need to have a look at them against stronger opposition.”