Brett Solkhon believes “focus” is the key word for him and his Kettering Town team-mates as a new season dawns.
The Poppies make the long trip to Dorchester Town for their opening Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division game of the season on Saturday – 105 days after they finished the last campaign with a 4-1 success at the same ground.
That final-day win wasn’t quite enough for Kettering as they missed out on a play-off place after a stunning run of form in the second half of the season.
With the vast majority of the squad still at Latimer Park, expectations are high this time around as boss Marcus Law aims to launch a promotion bid.
And legendary captain Solkhon, who is set to add to his 428 appearances for the club which sees him fourth in the all-time list, believes the Poppies should be aiming to surpass the 24 wins they had last season.
“I think, going into any season, if you are a Kettering Town player you have to set your standards very high,” the 33-year-old defender said.
“No matter what club I am at, I want to win every game possible.
“I think we have a good chance of winning more games than we did last season and if we do that then we will be in with a shout of doing something.
“When you look at last season, we started with a brand new squad.
“But it wasn’t until a couple of months in that the manager got the group he wanted.
“And then, for the last six months we performed well and went close.
“We have lost one or two and one or two have come in but if we can keep everyone fit then we have the potential to be a decent side.
“But the most important thing is that we have to stay focused.
“We have some young players and it’s important we stay grounded.
“Teams will want to come to our ground and beat us after the way we finished last season and we have to be prepared for that.”
Solkhon insists the Poppies squad “are ready” for the new campaign after a pre-season which saw them play nine friendlies – all of which were against teams from a lower level.
“The season always comes around so quickly,” he added.
“But we have had a good four or five weeks of pre-season.
“We have beaten most of the teams put in front of us, although we probably haven’t had the biggest tests when it comes to the friendlies we have played.
“But we are ready to go and we would like to start the season how we finished the last one at Dorchester.”
The Poppies, meanwhile, have now officially confirmed six additions to their squad.
Wilson Carvalho, Blaize Punter, Jordan Wilson, Dylan Otshudy, Henry Limpitishi and Peter Williams have all been registered with the club for the new campaign.
Winger Carvalho, however, will miss the first five games of the season due to a suspension continuing from the end of the last campaign.