GlenN Bridgman has taken the pressure off his AFC Portchester troops ahead of their Wessex League premier division bow.
The Wicor Recreation Ground outfit welcome Hamworthy United in tomorrow’s top-flight curtain-raiser (3pm).
And boss Bridgman, who led the side to promotion last term, has told the home side to enjoy it.
Hamworthy will provide tough opposition for the newcomers.
The Dorset side finished seventh in the division last term – losing just 11 games along the way.
However, Portchester are in a confident mood following some impressive pre-season results.
Bridgman’s side have beaten high-division opposition in Poole Town and Gosport Borough.
And they have also celebrated a win against Selsey.
The pre-season triumphs have come at a price, though.
‘Results have been really great,’ said Bridgman.
‘We have beaten some big sides but we have picked up some injuries to a lot of forwards, too.
‘We are looking for an enjoyable season, with no expectation on our heads.
‘Having said that, we know what we can do and we have proved that throughout pre-season.
‘We are looking to win every game and if they come, we will certainly take our chances.’
Bridgman is sweating on the fitness of star striker Simon Woods, who faces a late fitness test tomorrow afternoon.
Woods was linked with Gosport Borough over the summer but last season’s top scorer at Wicor Rec has decided to stay put.
Fellow striker Jay Ripiner will definitely miss out, though, after picking up an injury during pre-season.
The injuries to his key duo means Bridgman will be looking elsewhere on the pitch for attacking options tomorrow.
‘If Simon fails his fitness test, we will be looking to some of our midfield boys to make the step up.’ said Bridgman.
‘But I’m confident the core of our team will see us through this season.
‘We’ve got a great backbone to the side.’
One of those core players is goalkeeper Danny Audin.
He was a solid figure between the sticks last season and he tasted defeat only once in his 14 appearances.
Bridgman is also confident his captain Kevin Pottage will be able to perform at the higher level.
He has picked out his influential central midfielder as someone who will really make a difference this year.
The Hammers come into tomorrow’s game off the back of a tough pre-season programme that only saw the Dorset side pick up two victories.
They beat Poole Town reserves and Dorchester Town reserves between draws with Badshot Lea, Sherborne Town and Salisbury City.