Summer signing Nathan Hicks is sure AFC Rushden & Diamonds won’t just be making up the numbers in the Evo-Stik South League Premier Division Central this season.
Diamonds kick-off their first-ever campaign at Step 3 with a home clash against Redditch United on Saturday, having gained a third promotion in six seasons last time out.
While boss Andy Peaks has stuck with the majority of the squad that got Diamonds up, he has added the likes of midfielder Hicks and striker Jack Bowen to his ranks after they played at this level for Biggleswade Town last season.
Hicks is well known in these parts having played for Kettering Town while he also had a loan spell at Corby Town while he was with Nuneaton Borough.
Now he will be in Diamonds colours and he believes there is enough quality within the squad to ensure they can turn a few heads this season.
“It’s a good club to be at,” Hicks said.
“Pre-season has been tough, we have been put through a lot of running and we have worked hard.
“Andy Peaks and (assistant-manager) Paul Lamb have really put us through our paces, they are really ambitious.
“It’s a good group of players. There are a lot of very good individuals, there is some real quality in the squad and they obviously showed that by getting promoted last season.
“I believe we are capable of having a good season and we certainly won’t be in the league just to make up the numbers.”
Hicks, however, is taking nothing for granted on the opening day.
He is expecting a tough test against Redditch and that game is followed by a quick reunion for him as Diamonds travel to Biggleswade on Tuesday night.
“Playing Redditch won’t be a walk in the park and that will be the case in every game,” he added.
“It’s a tough league and Redditch have some good players so we will have to perform well.
“The first game of the season usually has a cup final feel to it.
“We are at home and we just want to try to get off to a good start.”
Diamonds, meanwhile, have confirmed striker Ben Diamond has followed the lead of boss Peaks by signing a contract for the forthcoming campaign.
Diamond joined the club from Corby Town last season and impressed during the race for promotion.
Peaks said: “Ben has been a revelation since his arrival and getting him committed for the season was my first priority.
“He links up the team brilliantly and he scores goals.
“I am delighted that he has committed to the club for the season."