Ballinamallard United manager Whitey Anderson is preparing for this Premiership campaign just as professionally as he did for the first – three years ago.
Then it was all new to the Ferney Park boss, but three years on and a wiser head, Anderson is just as keen to get going on Saturday.
“It’s been a different pre-season. The boys have worked hard, but there have been quite a few new faces and they are settling in well,” he said.
“Old or new, all they want to do is play the first game. That’s what it’s all about. Everyone is looking forward to it.”
There has been gradual change at the Fermanagh club with players coming and going.
This close season the Mallards have lost three of their mainstays for the past four or five seasons, in Mark Stafford, David Kee – both gone to Linfield – and Stuart Hutchinson to PSNI.
But it doesn’t faze Anderson who started planning for the new season as soon as the old one fiinished.
“I think the new faces have added a bit of freshness to the squad. Those players will bring their own strengths to different parts of the team. We’ve had a good pre-season and things have gone well. I’m optimistic about the weeks and months ahead,” he added.
He said everyone is looking to get started at Warrenpoint tomorrow and Dungannon Swifts the following Wednesday.
“For us it’s about getting off to a good start this time around,” Anderson said.
“We were a bit slow last season and paid for it later on. It would be great to kick off with three points, but I’m sure many other teams in the division will be saying exactly the same thing.”
The Ballinamallard manager isn’t too worried about predictions saying: “We have our targets set and if we can get to seventh spot by the end of the season then there is a change of a European play off. That would make it a good season.”