Lancaster City boss Mark Fell is itching for the new season to start this weekend and is confident the Dolly Blues can have a good season with the backing of the supporters.
Fell’s men kick-off against Stafford Rangers at Giant Axe on Saturday (3pm), with away games at Morpeth Town and Basford United to follow.
It has been a long wait for the start of the campaign, with the Bet Victor Northern Premier League starting later than most other leagues.
Fell said: “It is important we start well and that we get a strong support on Saturday.
“The fans were great last season, the safer we got the nerves started to go and the louder they got.
“We have big ambitions here and we feel we can do something good this season.
“It is important we get fans through the gate, not just for the finances but to build a good atmosphere.
“With the help of the fans we will be giving it a right go and it would be great to see a big crowd.”
It has been a long pre-season for Lancaster and at times it has tested the organisational skills of Fell.
Some of planned friendly games fell by the wayside, the latest being Tuesday night’s trip to Mossley.
That was postponed due to the condition of Mossley’s pitch, hence the 6-2 victory at Conwy Borough on Saturday was City’s final warm-up.
Fell said: “I’ve never known a pre-season like it for games being cancelled.
“For one reason or another we lost a few and that meant reorganising things.
“The Mossley game was postponed because of all the rain they’d had on the pitch.
“We trained instead on Tuesday night, got through a lot of work and the lads looked in good shape.
“It was nice to win against Conwy last Saturday but I don’t think we got too much out of the game.
“Conwy weren’t quite at the level we thought they would be, we had played Llandudno from the same division and Llandudno were a better team.
“On the plus side, the lads got more game-time into their legs and we won the game.”
Charlie Bailey, Sam Bailey, Niall Cowperthwaite and two trailists were on target in the Conwy win.
New signing Sam Joel will miss Saturday’s game because of an ankle injury suffered in a pre-season friendly against Blackburn.
Also unavailable is Jason Walker but he will be back next week.
In terms of what to expect from Stafford on Saturday, Fell said: “They’ve not changed massively from last season.
“They have brought in a couple of players but in the main have retained a lot of last season’s players.
“I went to watch them play a couple of weeks ago and we have done our due diligence.
“To be fair, Stafford have kept their cards close to their chest in pre-season in terms of how they might play and might line-up but I expect them to be similar to last season.
“We have done our work on them based on what we saw last season and how they might fit the new lads in.
“The first game is always a step into the unknown and then things settle down.
“We’ve got to make sure we approach the game right and work hard. If we do, hopefully we can get a good result.”