Darren Peacock is confident his Lancaster City young guns can shock the big boys in the Evo-Stik First Division North this season.
The Dolly Blues find themselves in a division that has more than its fair share of deep pockets and lofty reputations.
Salford City now find themselves backed by Manchester United’s Class of 92 with former Football League Clubs Darlington 1883 and Scarborough Athletic also fancied to take up two of the league’s coveted top five spots.
But in his first full season in charge last year, Peacock saw his side play above themselves against the bigger sides, the 2-0 win at Darlo in February one of the pick of last season’s results.
And now the head coach is excited to see how his young side deal with the added attention on the league.
Peacock said: “It’s good for the league and the PR it’s getting.
“But at the end of the day, by and large, we played better when we came up against the better teams and worse when we were against teams in the relegation zone last season.
“It’s just how the players react to the bigger crowds, the better players and their reputations.
“There are a lot of players with Football League experience around. But they are in this division for a reason either because they’ve not progressed into the players they could have been or they’ve come down for the money.
“I’m really looking forward to it.”
Ahead such a competitive and open season, Peacock wouldn’t be drawn on any bold predictions after his side only missed out on the play-offs last season on goal difference with ‘progress’ the magic word at Giant Axe as he works with former Queens Park Rangers team mate Trevor Sinclair.
He said: “From my point of view and Trevor’s we just want to progress. “We want the lads to become better players and make less mistakes.
“I’m not going to say we’re going to reach the play-offs or get promoted, we’ll just take things a game at a time and if we improve as individuals and as a team then I’ll be happy.
“I’d be pleased if like last season we were still in with a shout going into the final game of the season.”
The former Newcastle and Blackburn defender is perhaps playing down expectations due to the relatively youthful nature of his squad.
But he is confident those handed an opportunity will seize it.
Peacock said: “You hear whispers that our squad might be too young and that experience counts.
“It does, but our experienced players make mistakes too, we all do.
“I’m really happy with the squad. I spoke to more experienced players in the summer about bringing them to the club but we have financial constraints to work to.
“There are chances for the lads and it’s up to them to take them.”