This time next year, Banbridge Town are hoping they’ll be embarking on a new adventure.
After a summer full of transfer activity, boss Ryan Watson reckons his side have what it takes to power their way into Championship One.
If ever the club needed to progress, it was this coming season as Northern Ireland’s football pyramid undergoes change.
Either four or five clubs will drop through the trap-door of the national leagues, meaning a repeat of last year’s 11th place finish would result in unthinkable relegation.
However, that’s not a worry for Watson, who has his sights fixed on leaving Championship Two in the other direction.
The champions will move up to Championship One while second-place will have a chance of promotion via a play-off and, after adding Neil Barr, Kevin Anderson, Stuart Thompson and most notable Ryan Moffatt to his squad, Watson is in confident mood.
“The aim for the season is to be challenging for the title,” said the boss. “We want to be right up there from the beginning.
“It’s going to be a tough league but with the few signings that we have brought in, we know we can do well. The players who were here before have another year’s experience of playing in this division too so hopefully we can really push on.
“We’ve got good experienced players in who have played in higher leagues.”
Town completed their pre-season campaign on Saturday with a 2-2 draw with a Dundalk U20 side, Conor Downey and Stephen Greene on target for the hosts at Crystal Park.
It brings to an end a pre-season that has had highs and lows in terms of results. Town, of course, reclaimed the Bob Larmour Cup with a 1-0 win over Cliftonville but they also suffered a heavy 6-0 defeat to Ards and went down to Newry City and Banbridge Rangers.
Nonetheless, Watson is content with his players efforts before the season opener on Saturday.
“All in all, pre-season has gone well,” he said. “It’s been tough but that’s what we wanted. “All the players have got minutes on the pitch and been able to stake their claim for a starting shirt.
“The players have worked hard and now we just need to put on the nishing touches at training this week and work on our shape for Saturday’s game.
“We’re ready to go!”