It’s getting on for a fortnight since the latest instalment of social-life sapping Football Manager hit the shelves.
As in previous years, Football Manager 2018 is every bit as addictive as the last, with plenty of new features and an extraordinary level of data ensuring that countless hours can be spent pouring over potential formations for a Checkatrade Trophy clash at Forest Green Rovers.
But to fully appreciate the magic of the game - and to show that you are a tactical genius - you must shun the trappings of the Premier League and look further down the pyramid to start your journey.
Forget the Football League, even, the REAL fun is had in the Vanarama National League or, for those who really fancy a challenge, in the National League North and South.
Small squads and even smaller back room teams make for a tough start for rookie managers.
You’ll likely have no transfer budget, next to nothing to spend on wages and a limited knowledge of players who could make an impact on a shoestring.
But there are some decent players to be found who have found themselves out of contract.
Here’s a few.
At 30, French striker N’Guessan still has plenty of gas in the tank.
A tall, physical and pacey striker, N’Guessan has taken in spells at Lincoln City, Leicester City and Swindon Town during a solid Football League career.
He was released by IK Start at the end of last season and is one of the standout free agents. However, N’Guessan still wants a decent wedge each week on the game, although he would be a good option for a club with a wealthy backer, such as Eastleigh.
An ideal option for clubs in the National League North/South who have limited budgets and are in need of a versatile defender.
The former Leeds United and Chester FC man can play at either full-back position and is available for a pretty reasonable weekly wage that even the most stretched of resources should be able to reach. Was released by Harrogate Town at the end of last season.
The 29-year-old can make a real difference at the heart of midfield for teams at both National League and National League North/South level.
A classy customer on the ball, if you can stretch your wage budget slightly with a bit of tinkering then the former Port Vale, Newport County and Sutton United man seldom dips below a 7/10 each week.
If you’re in need of a keeper to challenge for the number one spot but aren’t blessed with much in terms of wriggle room with your wage budget, Dawber might be for you.
The ex-Altrincham and Crewe Alexandra stopper is only 22 but seldom puts a foot wrong and provides you with a solid base on which to build.
A nomadic career that has taken in spells at clubs across the globe, Sierra Leone international Kargbo is without a club at the start of the game after leaving Dulwich Hamlet.
But if you are in need of some quality at the back for a bargain price, the 35-year-old can be an excellent stop gap, especially at North/South level.
Another veteran, 37-year-old Harper, who counts Reading, Hull City and Sheffield United among his former clubs, is unattached at the start of the game and would provide some real quality for a North/South side.
While the legs may not have too much left in them, he will provide you with a strong option in midfield if surrounded by some younger, fresher legs.
The 19-year-old is a quick striker with an eye for goal and the potential to make a big impact, certainly at North/South level.
If you are in need of a front man but have next to no budget then the ex-Nottingham Forest trainee could be a way to go. He can be hit and miss and will need the right strike partner.
A bit of an ambitious one, here. Former Tranmere Rovers, Barnsley, Bayern Munich and MK Dons midfielder Jennings is a real gem in a sea of free agents.
But you’ll need a healthy amount of room in your wage budget to snare him, as well as some pretty good add-ons, but a big spender in the National League might be able to pull it off.
A real talent on the game and at just the right age, too. The 20-year-old Scot is a free agent at the start of the game having been last at Kilmarnock. Can play as a deep lying forward or out on the wing and can be a game changer at every non-league level.
Another young keeper who has the potential to be a hit and can perform in the first team straightaway.
The 21-year-old former Manchester City youngster has had senior spells at Hyde and St Mirren on loan, as well as Welsh under-21 caps.
A decent scout will no doubt flag him up but he is worth adding to your ranks as either a first choice or very able deputy for little outlay.
At 27, striker Gornell is in his prime and has taken in spells at Tranmere Rovers, Accrington Stanley, Shrewsbury Town and Cheltenham Town.
Despite being under six feet, Gornell can play the target man role effectively on the game and has decent heading stats to back that up.
He’ll score goals at both National League and North/South level and won’t break the bank too much.
For a side with some quality around him then he should be a key player.
A prolific non-league marksmen during his time with Hyde, Spencer is still just 28 and can make a difference at a North/South side who have limited funds available.
A good finisher, he can flit in and out of games but should be able to bag you 15-plus goals in his first season.