BANGOR City boss Kevin Nicholson has lofty ambitions to live up to ahead of his first season at the helm.
The rookie manager comes with a hugely impressive pedigree and will need to hit the ground running if the Citizens are to make their expected Welsh Premier League title push.
With many believing that the all-conquering New Saints are now vulnerable following long-serving manager Craig Harrison’s departure to Hartlepool United, the onus will be on the likes of City, Bala Town and Connah’s Quay to give the reigning champions plenty to think about in what is sure to be a fascinating campaign.
The stakes at the Bangor University Stadium are incredibly high with the new board of directors declaring their ambitions to move to full-time status in the not-too-distant future, and they will need to be at the higher echelons of the league over the next few seasons to make this idea a realistic possibility.
A huge positive for Nicholson is the experience that surrounds him in his pursuit of glory, with the Citizens boasting a wealth of former Football League players that will be on hand to lend advice during difficult stages of the season.
There isn’t much that assistant Gary Taylor-Fletcher has not seen during his time in the game and he also has the benefit of knowing some players from last year which will be another big asset, while veteran striker Dan Nardiello will also be counted on to offer his expertise to the younger members of the squad.
Despite losing the gifts of Henry Jones to AFC Fylde, Nicholson moved quickly to offset this loss with the signing of Brayden Shaw, who is expected to play a significant role in any success that City may have following his club record move from Accrington Stanley.
The playmaker made a massive impression during a loan spell last term, and he will need to replicate this form on a consistent basis to justify his fee and propel the club to new heights.
A wealth of other talent has also arrived at the club in what has been a busy summer of transfer activity, and they will all need to perform from the opening fixture to avoid getting left behind by their rivals.
Expectation is as high as it may have been before thanks in no small part to the huge investment made in the playing staff, and Nicholson will need to show he has the character and talent to get the most out of his squad despite never taking charge of a competitive fixture prior to their Europa League exploits earlier this summer.
Whether this will be enough to bring them an elusive championship remains to be seen, but the foundations are now in place for them to become a force to be reckoned with for the foreseeable future and it is up to Nicholson to ensure they make the necessary progress to see them compete with the WPL elite.