Daventry Town are unlikely to repeat the 10-match winning start to last season even though the Southern League fixture list has again provided a gentle introduction this time around.
In 2013-14 FA Cup wins over Hillingdon Borough, Berkhamsted and Belper Town were interspersed with seven early successes in the Division One Central before the early league leaders lost at Dunstable.
Home games against Uxbridge and St Ives followed by a trip to Potters Bar offer the Town a chance to get some points in the bag before things turn more difficult with late August excursions to Beaconsfield and Kettering on Bank Holiday Monday.
As pre-season title favourites, the Poppies will then make the return trip to Communications Park for a highly lucrative Boxing Day clash which should attract a four-figure crowd to Browns Road.
The New Year’s Day and Easter Monday games will be against Bedworth United who have been switched back from the Northern Premier League at the 11th hour to replace Isthmian League-bound Ware Town.
On New Year’s Day the Daventry players will have their first taste of an artificial 3G surface following the £600,000 facelift to The Oval pitch.
For Nathan Haines, Josh Cole and Mitchell Piggon it will be a return to their old stamping grounds.
Meanwhile the penultimate league fixture of the season at Rugby might well have a part to play in deciding the name of this season’s champions. Three home games in the first four represent a friendly start to the campaign whilst the April run-in is none too demanding either with three of the last five encounters set for Communications Park.
Daventry chairman Iain Humphrey has pledged to bankroll one more promotion drive but manager Darran Foster still needs another proven goalscorer as well as a midfield replacement for James Jepson.
Cup draws have not worked out favourably either as the Purple Army has been landed with away matches in the FA Cup, Trophy and the Red Insure (League) Cup competitions kicking off with a visit to Ashford Town or Berkhamsted on August 30th.
Victory there would take the Town to Hitchin in the FA Cup a fortnight later followed by mid-September games at Banbury United and Romulus in the Red Insure and FA Trophy competitions.
If beating Romulus in Sutton Coldfield the Trophy action will then move on to either Gresley or Tividale on November 1 to complete a possible nap hand of away cup ties.
Overall the Southern League fixture list has a well-balanced feel to it and it would come as no great surprise if last season’s three beaten play-off teams, Kettering Rugby and Daventry, again challenge strongly for promotion to the Premier League.