Cumbernauld Colts kick off their fourth season in the Lowland League on Saturday once again looking to punch above their financial weight.
Despite having a budget considerably lower than many of their rivals, the Cumbernauld side have finished fourth, sixth and sixth in their three seasons to date.
Last season’s top four - Spartans, East Kilbride, BSC Glasgow and East Stirlingshire are again among the favourites win the title and the chance to play-off for senior status.
Kelty Hearts have also come into the league this season with ambitions to make the SPFL.
But Colts co-manager James Orr is hopeful his players can take confidence from last season’s League Cup win and again make their mark.
He said: “We’ve given it a good go for three years and have always been in the top six, so it’s to try and push on.
“I hope that this year we maybe give a good account of ourselves again and maybe push the top teams who have the big budgets.
“Kelty have not been shy in telling everybody they have a £150,000 budget. Edusport are the same - they were all about French boys coming through but now they have binned that and they want to win the league.
“People think we’re a big club because of the park but we’re not. We’re a small club, but if we’re lucky and consistent and can break into that top four, for Cumbernauld Colts that’s magnificent.”
Pre-season has been difficult. Due to holidays and injuries Saturday’s final warm-up game against Wick Academy was the first Colts had been able to start with a recognised first-team line-up.
New recruits this season include teenager keeper Jordan Pettigrew, rated by Orr as an outstanding prospect.
He said: “He’s only 18 but he’s definitely got a future, he’s excellent.
“We’ve also brought in Fraser Team from Cumbernauld United. He’s always scored goals but went a bit stale at Cumbernauld United. But he’s got pace and I just think he needs to find his confidence again. If we can get that I think we’ve got a good player.
“We’ve brought in Dean Currie, who’s been around the junior ranks. He’s just a big, dominant centre-half.
“Kieran Coleman, a centre mid from Blantyre Vics who can play different positions, and Arnault Bembo from Kilbirnie is a very competitive centre mid and that’s something we lacked last year, someone who can get in there and just win tackles.”
But perhaps the biggest boost has been the refreshing decision of top scorer Sean Brown (left) to stay despite offers from other clubs.
Orr said: “Sean’s a 20 goal a season striker and someone’s going to take a gamble on him at some point. He’s been offered some good money, but he’s decided to stay because he obviously knows us, he likes the way we play.
“He thinks he’s got a better opportunity staying here rather than going somewhere else and maybe sitting on a bench. For a young man at 18 he’s pretty mature, he’s a good lad.
“And it’s nice for us not to have a panic when you’re going to lose your main striker.”
First up for Colts is a trip to Gala Fairydean Rovers and Orr hopes it will be an enjoyable return to a happy hunting ground.
He said: “The last time we played at Gala we won the cup so we should take confidence from that.”