Expectations are probably as high as they have been for sometime as Corby Town prepare to get their season under way this weekend.
And why shouldn’t they be?
As manager Steve Kinniburgh observed as he looked ahead to the start of the Steelmen’s Evo-Stik South League Division One Central campaign, things appear to be nice and settled off the pitch at Steel Park, ensuring everyone’s focus is firmly on the on-field matters.
There is a very welcome feelgood factor around the club and that stems from the manager.
An infectious character, Kinniburgh is gearing up for his first full season as a first-team boss and it’s an opportunity he is more than worthy of after steadying the ship on more than one occasion, not least in the last campaign when he had Corby knocking on the play-off door after such a desperately poor start.
But long before last season ended, it was clear Kinniburgh was already planning ahead to what he hopes and expects will be a promotion challenge.
He got the majority of his transfer business done early on in the summer and there were, on paper at least, some excellent additions.
Gary Mulligan, who was immediately installed as club captain, Elliot Sandy and Miles Smith all plied their trade at Step 3 last season.
And Mulligan and Sandy have both won titles at this level before, indeed they did it alongside Kinniburgh at Kettering Town not that long ago.
That experience thrown alongside the promising youngsters at Steel Park could just prove to be a perfect cocktail.
Kinniburgh has full belief in the Corby youngsters. Given he is the head of the academy, I guess he has no choice to be that way.
But he wasn’t afraid to dish out opportunities last season and the academy prospects took them.
However, his and the Steelmen’s best piece of business this summer was to retain the services of Jordon Crawford.
There was very real interest in Corby’s hot prospect from clubs at a higher level during the closed season.
I don’t know how close he was to leaving but the fact it took time for the Steelmen to secure his signature suggests he may have been tempted with a move to pastures new.
But with him staying and the additions that have been made, Corby have a squad that should be capable of mounting a challenge at the top end of the table.
They are in for a couple of big examinations, you’d expect tomorrow’s opening-day opponents Cambridge City and Sutton Coldfield Town, who visit Steel Park on Wednesday, to be in the shake-up as well.
So, even after just two matches, the Steelmen will have a good idea of what they are in for.
There’s no question that there is enough ability within the squad to make the Steelmen a force this season.
And if those players match the passion and enthusiasm of their manager then they won’t go far wrong.
It’s hard to believe that only three years have passed since Corby were starting a season in the Vanarama National League North on the back of that unforgettable Southern League Premier Division title success.
It’s been a rough and rocky road for the Steelmen since then.
They’re due a change in fortunes and Kinniburgh would love nothing more than to deliver it for them. I really hope he can...