NANTWICH Town boss Steve Davis believes his summer of wheeling and dealing could transform the Dabbers from relegation contenders into promotion dreamers.
Town finished towards the bottom of Division One last season, and provided little to shout about for their supporters.
But 11 new signings at Jackson Avenue have changed expectations. The player-manager feels sure his men can aim a lot higher this term, starting on Saturday at home to Bacup Borough.
He explained: 'Of course we have to aim to do better than we did last season, but actually I think we can look at getting in that top six.
'I have been very pleased with the players I have brought in and, although I feel they are still gelling together, there is enough quality for us to do something. I am pleased with the attitude of the lads.'
Headers from new-boys Mark Grice and James Marrow earned a 2-2 with Winsford United on Saturday, giving the injured Davis food for thought as he mulls over team selection for the games against Bacup, who have former Manchester United Champions League winner David May on their books, and at Skelmersdale on Tuesday.
The influx of new players has placed last season's skipper Danny Griggs in a three-way fight for the armband, with Stuart Scheuber and Phil Parkinson also in contention.
Davis is confident of a good start and has urged local people to get behind his side.
He added: 'The lads looked fit and sharp against Winsford on Saturday. With Crewe Alex being away at Brighton it would be great to see a lot of people at Jackson Avenue. A lot has changed and we look different. People might be surprised.' nGreg Clowes will settle for nothing less than promotion from Division One.
The Alsager Town boss believes this is the season for his side to do big things, and he has demanded a winning start at home to Ramsbotton United on Saturday. With five key first team players injured - Carl Espley, Ian Verow, Paul Rutter, Rob Powner and Paul Macari - his side could be seriously weakened.
But Clowes is confident the newly acquired strength in depth in his squad should be enough to do the job.
He said: 'Our preparation has not been the best in the world in terms of the injuries we have had. All five of those lads would have started the game on Saturday. But we have options in every positions so I won't allow the injuries to be an excuse.
'We have to be in the mix this season. We have managed to make progress every season and there is pressure on us to perform.
'I want promotion, but I bet there will be 15 or 16 other managers who will say the same thing. We have to get off to a good start.'
Former Norton United keeper Jason Coventry is ahead of Phil McGing in the race to replace Powner, while Peter Heler and Richard Mitchell will come in up front. Wayne Brotherton, who bagged 30 goals last season, will revert back to centre half alongside Steve Elks.
Clowes added: 'We have a stronger squad than last year. We have a stronger strikeforce which will help, as scoring goals has been our problem. We have also drawn too many games. If we perform to our capability - tight at the back and knocking in goals at the other end - we could be in with a shout.'
Alsager played their final warmup game of their pre-season at Leek Town, as the Chronicle went to press last night. They travel to St Helens on Tuesday.