Nicky Eaden believes Kettering Town will get a good idea of what lies ahead for them when they step out for their return to the Vanarama National League North this weekend.
The Poppies take on old rivals AFC Telford United at Latimer Park this Saturday in what will be Eaden’s first league game in charge of the club since he replaced Marcus Law over the summer.
Kettering will be hoping to take momentum into the new campaign after romping to the Southern League Premier Division Central title last season.
But they are set for a stiff early examination against a Telford side that only missed out on the play-offs in the National League North on goal difference last term.
However, Eaden fully believes his squad will have what it takes to be competitive at the higher level.
“It will be a real test,” Eaden said as he looked ahead to the season curtain-raiser.
“We have had Telford watched in pre-season and they try to play [good football].
“They were up there last season and they are well-established at this level.
“They will be expecting to be up there again.
“They have a good set-up and they have a bit of stability to build on.
“It will probably be a good guide for us as to what lies ahead, but all I want to do is make sure we are competitive in every game.
“And, from what I have seen and from past experience with other clubs, I think we will be.”
Eaden is keen to see his charges get a good start on home soil before they head to King’s Lynn Town on Tuesday and to Darlington next weekend.
But he insists his team will have to be ready to battle for every point.
“Obviously you want a good start no matter where you are, but especially at home,” he added.
“There will be a bit of expectation on us, especially after what the team achieved last season.
“But it isn’t going to be easy.
“It will be a real battle all the way through.”