Dungannon Swifts face Carrick Rangers at Stangmore on Saturday as the East Antrim team return to Irish Premiership football.
In their thirteen years in the top flight, the Swifts have consistently faced fears of relegation. but manager Darren Murphy and his team will be hopeful of more this season.
While breaking into the top six would be a great achievement, Murphy says that the number one priority is Premiership survival.
Changes to the format, means seventh place will allow teams to bid for European qualification, making that a bonus target. However, reaching it will be an up-hill battle.
Saturday’s opponents, Carrick, had a great year, winning the Steel and Sons Cup, Intermediate Cup and Championship One title last term.
Murphy admits it will be a difficult game, but says they’ll approach it ‘in the right manner’, adding: “To stay in the league you need to win the home games.”
The Swifts have seen Alvin Rouse, Abi Sanusi and Grant Hutchinson exit, while Paul McElroy, Ryan Mullan, Cormac Burke, Ollie Taggart and Dale Montgomery have all come into the squad for the new season.
Kick-off in Saturday’s clash is 3pm at Stangmore Park.