Wisbech Town boss Brett Whaley says the first three months of the new campaign will be crucial if his side are going to launch a title tilt this season.
The new-look Fenmen start their United Counties League campaign at home to Newport Pagnell Town on Saturday (3pm).
Wisbech finished third in the Premier Division last season and Whaley (pictured) said: “Where we finish will all depend on how well we do in the next two to three months.
“We are still going through something of a transitional period and it might take until the end of October before we really know where we are.
“There’s enough quality in the squad to finish in the top three and we’d like to have a good run in one of the cups, too.
“We will be a better side by October and by Christmas I’m expecting us to be a very good side.
“We finished fourth when I was at Yaxley last season and I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t think we could better that.”
Whaley, who arrived at the club in early June, has been extremely busy in the summer.
The Wisbech chief has had to virtually rebuild the team and playing staff from last season but, despite this, Wisbech have claimed some impressive pre-season scalps.
The Fenmen, who are hoping for a bumper crowd at the Elgoods Stadium, have beaten higher-league Histon and Soham Town Rangers at home, as well as a strong King’s Lynn Town XI.
“We’ve had some excellent pre-season results against some very good sides especially at home,” admitted Whaley.
“But I don’t want the fans to get carried away. They need to remain patient.
“We have a lot of flair going forward and I think we will score a lot of goals.
“What will make a big difference to how we progress is how many clean sheets we are able to keep.
“Because we are a relatively new side we might have two or three good games, then a bad one.
“What we’ve got to do in the next few months is learn how to win when we are not playing well.”
Midfielders Declan Rogers and Rob Hughes will miss Saturday’s opener but Billy Smith is expected to be fit.
On Friday night, Wisbech Town concluded their pre-season preparations by seeing off a strong King’s Lynn Town XI 3-1 to lift the Denis Harris Memorial Cup.
Goalscorers for the Fenmen were Matt Sparrow (2) and Charley Sanders against his former club.