Lancaster City boss Phil Brown concedes there will be an element of the unknown when his team take their place in the NPL Premier Division.
Long-time members of the First Division North, the Dolly Blues will ply their trade at a higher level next season for the first time in a decade after their glorious title success last term.
Used to a diet of regular derby encounters against teams such as Kendal, Bamber Bridge and Clitheroe – City’s fixture list for the 2017/18 campaign will be conspicous by the lack of games against teams within close proximity to them.
In fact, Lancaster’s nearest rivals will be Marine and Altrincham who are 60 miles away, while Workington in the north takes just under two hours by road to get to.
While agreeing his team will miss the familarity of trips to Parkside Road or Irongate, there is something exciting about going to places that they have never been to before.
“I think our nearest game will be Marine next season,” said Brown.
“Our derbies are going to be Marine, Ashton United, Altrincham, Warrington Town and Workington.
“But it’s what we wanted. We’re coming out of the First Division North which was a lot more regionalised.
“We are used to games against Bamber Bridge and Kendal Town.
“I think not having games against them any more will be a different challenge.
“We are coming up against a lot of clubs from Derbyshire and the Midlands. Most of the lads in our squad will not know much about half of the clubs in the Premier Division.
“So a lot of the teams that we are going to play will be new to us.
“And there are a lot of clubs like Stalybridge and Marine who we haven’t locked horns with as a club for a long time – since I used to play many moons ago.
“So we are going into the unknown a little bit, but it’s also going to be very exciting.
“It’s something which we are all looking forward to.”
The Dolly Blues returned to pre-season training on Saturday as they prepare for their first pre-season game against Morecambe on July 15 at the Globe Arena
“The lads have all comeback and we’ve had two good training sessions,” said Brown.
““Everybody who has come back looks somewhere near in terms of fitness and the attitude towards what we have done has been first class.”
City’s fixture list for next season will be revealed on July 13.