It’s time to make a step forward as Gosport Borough visit Dorchester Town tonight in their latest pre-season friendly (7.45pm).
Assistant boss Mick Catlin believes it is the crucial next stage of their preparations for the new Conference South season.
Hosts Dorchester were relegated from Conference South last season and are sure to give Borough a tough test.
Gosport have already had run-outs at Bashley and Horndean.
But Catlin regards the Magpies as a different proposition.
He said: ‘We are looking to take it up a notch every game we play.
‘At the moment it is mostly about fitness and integrating new players into the squad.
‘Dorchester have signed some good players and will be keen to bounce straight back up.
‘Over the next few weeks we will be working on our organisation, systems and shape.
‘These games provide opportunities for us to start doing that.
‘As the start of the season gets closer then it will be all about getting the set-pieces right.
‘In our games, so far, we have concentrated on fitness and made a few basic errors.
‘We will be ironing those out before the season starts with a tough game at Chelmsford City.’
One player looking to make the step up with Borough is Stuart Green, who has arrived from Moneyfields.
So far he has impressed at Bashley and Horndean with his direct running and pace.
Catlin believes with more experience behind him he can make the grade.
‘The lad knows it is a big step up but has shown that he is willing to listen and learn,’ said Catlin.
‘A season at our level with the players we have at the club could make all the difference.
‘He is a tireless runner and likes to get in behind defenders which is something we lacked last season.’
After reaching Wembley in the FA Trophy last season, Catlin believes Borough will no longer be a surprise package to their rivals.
Also, teams who are promoted and manage to survive the first season often find it tougher second time around.
Catlin expects another tough season but feels Borough will relish the challenge ahead.
They have made a few signings and will be looking to hit the ground running from the first week of the season.
Borough spent much of last season playing catch up after a poor start.
‘That is something we want to avoid this season,’ said Catlin.
‘It is important that we hit the ground running and pick up early points.
‘We don’t want to be in a situation where we have to keep looking over our shoulders from the start.
‘It won’t be easy because teams now know more about us.
‘One thing we learned last season is that there are no easy games at this level.
‘But we feel that we have strengthened our squad and can improve on last season.’
Borough are in action again on Thursday night when they go to Follands Sports.