Nelson captain Neil Thompson is philosophical about starting life in the second division of the Lancashire League on Sunday.
The Seedhill side are at Haslingden, after missing the cut, slipping to 13th on the last day last season.
But, with a young side, Thompson, back as skipper after Russell Bradley took charge last term, is optimistic about bouncing back: “We were disappointed not to finish in the top half – we played some decent stuff last season and were probably top half for 75% of the year.
“So, for the more senior players, myself, David Crotty, Lewis Bradley, we want to play at high a standard as possible, and there was a worry Crotts might get more offers to be a pro.
“He did, but we’ve held on to him, and everyone else.
“And for the younger players, playing at this level is probably the best thing for their development right now.
“Hopefully we can challenge for the top two, while the young lads, who have had a lot of success at Under 15, 17 and with the thirds, come through.”
The club have engaged Sri Lankan Sanjika Ridma as professional, and while, at the time of going to press, it wasn’t certain whether he would be available for the opening game, Thompson is looking forward to seeing what impact he has: “If you asked what we wanted to sign, a left-arm spinner was high on the list, and his stats look good.”