Runcorn Linnets manager Dave Wild is looking to continue the progression at the APEC Taxis Stadium as he gears up for his first competitive match in charge.
The former Mossley manager and Matlock Town assistant was unveiled as the new Linnets manager after Calum McIntyre was appointed as the new manager of National League North side, Chester.
And the beginning of the new era kicks off with a derby as Runcorn Linnets host neighbours Widnes in the Halton Derby.
Runcorn were pipped to promotion in the playoff final, last season, after Marine came from behind to secure their place in the Northern Premier League Premier Division.
Wild isn’t shying away from the foundations that his predecessor put in place and is looking to take Linnets further.
“It’s imperative, with the club being a fan-owned club, it’s essential that the positivity in the crowd, social side of things flourish and grow,” he told Off The Park.
“Ultimately, that’s down to myself, the staff and the players on the pitch to ensure that the good work Calum (McIntyre) and his staff did continues.
“Calum did a brilliant in his first full season and it’s down to us to keep that momentum going which is a big reason why we wanted to keep the squad together. We’ll be working harder than ever because we’ve got big shoes to fill.”
Jack Dunn scored the winning goal for Marine in the play-off final to break the hearts of the Linnets fans. Wild knows the feeling all too well after suffering a similar result with the Gladiators.
But he is determined to take the club to the next level. He added: “I was in Matlock Town last year and we got beat in the playoffs as well, it’s soul destroying, you’ve got to go put things right and get out on the front foot, show people what we’re about and that’s what we’ll be aiming for.
“I’ve certainly not dropped down the league to stand still, I want my career to go in one direction and Runcorn as a football club mirrors my ambition.
“As a football club, it’s got the ambition and infrastructure to move forward, that’s the aim of the club everyone’s singing off the same hymn sheet. We’ve got a competitive, strong group of players who want to learn and progress, I believe we can take the club forward.”
Widnes turned their season round during the last campaign. Dave Dempsey was integrated as their new manager and steered them to a mid-table finish.
And Wild is aware of the magnitude of the fixture.
Speaking about home advantage for the season opener, he said: “I’m glad we could get the first game at home, gates haven’t been enormous over pre-season which you’d expect.
“We’ve played teams who don’t massively, Marine was on a Tuesday night, it’s a big local derby for the first game and I think the interest and conversation towards the game is already swelling.
“They’ve got to win, every game is to win, we want to went off to a good start, the quicker you can get yourself off the board with points the better, it eases anxiety and allows for positivity around the place by getting off to a good start.
“At the end of the day, if you lose it’s a long way and long ugly season but the aim is to hit the ground running and take three points on our first home game.”