EASTWOOD Town return to competitive action this weekend and joint manager Jamie Brough is confident his squad is ready for the challenge.
The Badgers are an entirely different looking outfit to that which finished the 2010-11 season so strongly, with a completely new squad and set-up at the club.
But Brough says everyone at the club is raring to go.
“It’s been quite a while without competitive football so there’s been a real excitement throughout the club this week,” he said.
“The players have been working their socks off in training and their great appetite is evident.
“We think we’ve got a pretty good idea of who will play in the opening game, but with such a youthful squad this season will be a lot about learning, both for us and the players, and they all have a chance to stake a claim.”
Brough missed last Saturday’s trip to Whitby, which Eastwood lost 2-1, to instead take a look at the Badgers’ opening opponents, perennial promotion-hopefuls Droylsden.
He said: “Apparently we played OK at Whitby, though with Craig (Armstrong) playing and me taking a look at Droylsden there was a lack of input from the sidelines which can often be a big help.
“I was impressed by Droylsden and I think what people can expect on Saturday will be two sides who like to get the ball down and play football, which should make for an entertaining encounter.
“The players showed in pre-season that they were often well up for the bigger games as the performances against the likes of Wrexham and Huddersfield were better, so I hope that will apply on Saturday.”
Meanwhile, Brough has rallied the club’s fans to get behind his squad as they enter a new era.
Some supporters have been taking to internet forums to express concerns about a lack of communication between the club and the fans, as well as issues surrounding the financial side of things.
But Brough was keen to allay any fears.
He said: “The majority of fans have been fantastic so far and really supportive and we can’t thank them enough.
“We’ve had a lot of work to do since coming in but we presented a business plan to the league in the summer which they were happy with and that we’re anticipating no problems sticking to.
“So we really need the fans to get behind us and come and support the team on matchday.
“It’s all about pulling together for the cause as the fact is that we’re going to be largely self-sufficient this year.”
Following Saturday’s game with Droylsden, Eastwood face two away games with a visit to Solihull on Tuesday night (7.45pm) before a trip to Wales on August 20 to face newly-promoted Colwyn Bay.