Ritchie Jeune admits the excitement levels have gone up a notch at Kettering Town after the fixtures for their return to the Vanarama National League North were confirmed.
The Poppies, who won the Southern League Premier Division Central title last season, will kick-off the new campaign with a clash against AFC Telford United at Latimer Park on Saturday, August 3.
That is followed by back-to-back away games at King’s Lynn Town and Darlington while Nicky Eaden’s side will take on Northamptonshire rivals Brackley Town twice over the Christmas period with the season finishing with another home game against Southport at the end of April.
“It’s nice to start and finish with home matches and it’s nice to look at the fixture list and see some new grounds for us to visit,” Jeune said.
“It looks tough, of course, but that’s what we expected and that’s what we want. We want to be testing ourselves.
“Above anything else, it’s just exciting. And that’s nothing against the league we have just come out of because they looked after us and we made some good friends.
“It’s just great to have a new challenge and we can look forward to facing some new clubs as well as some with whom we have some history.”
Kettering fans are now waiting to see what new signings the club conjure up during pre-season with Connor Kennedy being the only new summer arrival so far while the majority of the title-winning squad were retained last month.
And Jeune insists the Poppies are “in the market” for a number of players.
“Obviously there are still things going on in the background but, at this moment in time, players still have options,” he added.
“We are in the market and Nicky is looking at various options but we are at the time of year where things can change quite quickly.
“There are a number of players we are in for and we would expect to know whether they will be coming here over the next week or so.”