Chichester City boss Miles Rutherford believes his side are up to the task ahead of their first ever season in the Isthmian League.
The Oaklands Park side were imperious last season, winning the SCFL Premier title with a month to spare while scoring more than 100 goals along the way.
Ahead of the first season at Step Four, Rutherford has kept the core of the squad together.
But he has made a number of additions, notably frontman Callum Overton, Lloyd Rowatt and Corey Heath, as well as bringing former Bognor coach Darin Killpartrick in on the sidelines.
Overton has been in fine form in pre-season, netting a fine hat trick in the 3-3 draw against Isthmian Premier side Worthing at Oaklands Park last weekend.
All three new players also featured in Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat to Bognor in the Sussex Community Shield, a match in which Chi posed a number of problems to their higher-ranked opponents.
With one more pre-season game to come, Chi will soon be switching their attention onto more competitive action – something their manager is looking forward to.
Speaking to Sussex County FA, Rutherford said: “It’s a big year for us this year, having achieved promotion, we are going into an unknown league, against teams we are not familiar with, and some grounds we’ve not visited before, but we will definitely be giving it our best shot.
“The players were a credit to the club last year, and we were not expecting to be in this position because financially the club are at least two years behind where we need to be.
“But, the players are all up for the challenge, as is everyone involved in the club.”
Next up for City is an away friendly at Rutherford’s former club Moneyfields tomorrow (3pm) before the FA Cup extra preliminary round match at home versus Southern Counties East Premier side Erith Town on August 10 (3pm).
Then it’s the first match of the Isthmian South East campaign on August 17 with a long round trip to Ramsgate (3pm).
Elsewhere, the SCFL season gets underway this weekend and in Division One Selsey will travel to league newcomers Roffey tomorrow (3pm).
Blues sealed a top five finish last season in what was Daren Pearce’s first campaign with the club.
Hopes are high that the young squad can kick on and progress in what is looking to be an extremely competitive division.
Fellow Division One side Sidlesham, who finished in mid-table last year, are also in action, hosting Oakwood at the Recreation Ground tomorrow (3pm).
Both clubs will face a new law introduced by the FA as 10 minute sin bins for those players who display dissent are introduced in competitive fixtures for the first time.