Banbridge Town boss Ryan Watson says his side must hit the ground running as they look to the upper echelons of Championship Two.
Their league campaign kicks-off on Saturday at Crystal Park against Portstewart (kick-off 3pm) and Watson wants to make sure they begin with a positive result, even though they’ll be without goal-scorer Ally Wilson.
The former Rathfriland Rangers man is off on honeymoon after his recent wedding but Watson is confident his side can pick up an opening day victory in his absence.
“I’m really excited for Saturday at 3pm, especially when we have a home game coming up first,” he said.
“As pre-season goes on, you get a taste for it and just can’t wait to get going.
“It will have to be somebody other than Ally getting the goals because he’ll miss our first three games. It’s not ideal for us but that’s life at this time of year.
“We have a good squad here and we have the players that will be able to get step up and get results even when Ally is away.”
Regardless of how the goals go in, Watson just wants to claim the three points.
He said: “The first day of the season is a particular case when the result is more important than anything else. We just need to grind it out. We won 1-0 last year against Moyola and I’d certainly take that again this time around. It’s very important to start well.”
The last time the sides met, Portstewart edged a narrow game 1-0 on the north coast and Watson is determined to reverse that scoreline.
He said: “My lasting memory of them last season is our final game against them up there when we lost 1-0 in a tight game when we didn’t take our chances. That adds an extra incentive for us to make sure we turn that score around at home on Saturday.
“It difficult because, especially with a club like that up on the North Coast, you don’t hear too much about what’s going on. It’s hard to know who they have signed and how they have progressed over the summer.”