Ards manager Colin Nixon is ‘excited by the challenge’ that the new Danske Bank Premiership campaign presents his side as they face Cliftonville tomorrow afternoon.
“We are really looking forward to the season getting under way,” Nixon said.
“Some people say that all the hard work is in pre-season, but I would say the hard work only starts now.
“We have a really tough opener against Cliftonville but we are excited by the challenge.
“It’ll be a tough ask for us and I’m sure Barry has his squad picked and ready but we will be fully prepared.”
Nixon, who steered Ards to an eighth-placed finish last season, wants his side to stay clear from a relegation battle.
“We continued our good end of season form into pre-season and we managed to get through it unscathed,” the former Glentoran defender continued.
“We realise we have a tough start but you have to play all the teams the same amount of times.
“Like any other manager would say our aim is to stay away from the bottom of the table.
“We don’t want to be in fear of relegation and after that we will see where it takes us.”
Nixon has added five new recruits and admits he is ‘happy’ with his close season arrivals.
“We are really happy with our business in the transfer window,” he added.
“The new arrivals have settled in well amongst the squad and look sharp and ready.
“I think we are going to see some exciting things from them this season.”