Ambitious boss Lewis Thorogood reckons his Spalding United squad is now equipped to mount a promotion push ahead of the start of the new Pitching In NPL South East Division season.
The Tulips welcome Sutton Coldfield Town to the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field on Saturday (3pm) as they bid to make a flying start to the new campaign.
Having lost their first competitive game of the season 3-1 to Barton Town Old Boys in the Emirates FA Cup back on September 1, Thorogood wants to make amends this weekend.
And, despite initially building a side with the remit of just surviving in the division, the Tulips chief feels battling at the top end is a realistic goal for his side.
“It feels like we’ve just had the longest pre-season in history,” joked Thorogood. “But it’s fair to say that it has felt like a long time since the FA Cup loss.
“We’re all hungry to set that defeat right and I feel we’re as prepared as we can be for the Sutton Coldfield game.
“From my perspective, I feel like we’re in a good place. We obviously started pre-season with a different remit and I was perhaps expecting to be here talking about stability and staying up.
“With the goalposts moved in pre-season, I’ve worked hard to bring new players in – and we’ve already got six new faces.
“So, yeah, I feel we’re ready to be in the promotion picture. That’s the target of the club and we’ll work towards that as best we can.
“I’m looking forward to getting started.”
The Tulips concluded their pre-season schedule with a 3-0 win at lower-graded Brigg Town on Saturday as goals from a triallist, Joel Brownhill (pen) and Jacob Fenton got the job done.
Since then, they’ve added two new signings in the shape of Grimsby Town midfield duo Cameron Painter and Jock Curran an initial three-month loan deals.
The pair impressed against Brigg and go straight into the squad for Saturday’s fixture.
Thorogood, who has the option to extend the loans, is delighted to land the duo and was impressed by what he saw from his side against Brigg.
He added: “I would like to thank Grimsby for all their help in enabling us to add Jock and Cameron to the squad, they showed on Saturday not only their ability but their potential.
“We have an option to extend the loans which is great and they come here as professional footballers who can add something to the squad whilst gaining valuable first team experience.
“Brigg are a good side who play good football. Yes, they are lower down the pyramid, but we wouldn’t have played them if they weren’t of a good standard.
“We played some great football and had more shots in the game than at any other point of pre-season. Respectfully, 3-0 flattered them a little on the day.
“We may have a few more new faces to add to the squad before Saturday, but getting the Grimsby lads in has really enhanced the squad and has given us added depth. We’ll certainly have lots of options.”