Tommy Wright believes Corby Town will be in for a “massive challenge” in Vanarama National League North next season.
The Steelmen had their place in the division confirmed last week and can now look ahead to the step up following their magnificent Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division title success.
With the likes of Nuneaton Town, AFC Telford United and Alfreton Town all being relegated from the Conference last season and well-supported FC United of Manchester earning promotion, a tough line-up looks even stronger now.
But Corby boss Wright is already looking forward to seeing his team “test themselves” at a higher level.
“It is going to be a tough one,” the Steelmen manager said of the north division.
“We have seen some of the signings some clubs have made and it gives us an idea of what we are going into.
“It is going to be a massive challenge for us. I think the north division is a tougher proposition than the south.
“But we are already looking forward to it, you always want to test yourself and we will have the chance to do that next season.
“There are some big clubs in there and we saw last season that winning games brings in big crowds.
“When you go into a higher league it’s inevitable that the level of away support will be higher so if we can get off to a good start then we should see some big attendances, which is what we want at Steel Park.”
Corby’s pre-season programme will start with a trip to face a Newcastle United side on July 7 while other away friendlies will be at Oadby Town (July 14) and Harborough Town (July 21).
The Steelmen will host a Leicester City side on August 1 and also a Wolves XI on July 18.
Corby, meanwhile, will host the fourth annual Ashworth Cup charity football tournament at Steel Park tomorrow (Saturday).
The event is held each year in memory of Corby soldier Lance Corporal James Ashworth, who was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross after he was killed in Afghanistan on June 13, 2012.
The day will feature a football tournament, live bands, fair rides, bouncy castles, a raffle and lots of activities for children.
Admission is £3 for adults, including a free programme while children will be allowed in free of charge. The turnstiles will open at midday.
This year’s event will be raising money for the Forces Support charity and Ben Lattimore, a local boy who suffers from Duchenne’s disease.