Bury St Edmunds director of rugby Gavin Hogg is expecting his side to challenge for promotion ahead of the season’s opener.
The Haberden-based outfit return to National League Three London and South East action tomorrow (3pm) as they hit the road to visit newly-promoted Gravesend .
And having enjoyed a promising fifth-place finish last time out, in their debut National League season, Hogg has set his sights on much loftier ambitions.
“The minimum target for me is to make an improvement on last season,” he said.
“We are stronger and the big thing for me is that we have that experience from last season and we know what is needed to be more successful.
“With the structure we have in place I certainly don’t think we should be fearful of promotion. I think we will definitely be competitive and I wouldn’t rule out promotion —I would be disappointed not to be competing at the top.”
Bury have been busy throughout the summer and have bolstered the already solid nucleus of their side with a host of experienced players.
New Zealand prop Loma Kivalu, previously of Otley, brings added presence in the front row, while fellow Southern Hemisphere players Nick Sykes (Australia), Kieran Black (New Zealand), Scott Lewis (New Zealand), James Solomon (New Zealand) and Michael Sage (New Zealand) also join the ranks.
And it is that added experience mixed in with a host of promoted young players and Services first team recruits that Hogg believes will see Bury improve on last season.
“We targeted three or four areas that we needed experience and those players will help us progress and help the younger players,” he added.
“With the recruitments we have made we certainly won’t be fearful and if we get up and around the top of the table from the start of the season then that gives us something to build on and push forward.”