BOURNEMOUTH begin their foray into the unknown tomorrow and skipper Martin Miller says his players should have no problem avoiding complacency.
Relegated from the Southern League Premier Division last term, Lions are much-fancied to challenge at the top of Division One this summer.
However, Miller believes the standard of the league is tricky to gauge and insists that expecting promotion would be folly.
He told the Daily Echo: “It’s difficult to know what will happen because we’ve never been in this position before. We are playing teams that we haven’t played since the league was reformatted in 2000. As a team dropping out of the top league, you’d like to think you’d get promoted at the first attempt, but that’s not always the case.
“Basingstoke won promotion from Division Two and are going to be strong, Sarisbury have been strong for a couple of years and New Milton have got a few ex-Bournemouth players in.
"I don’t know whether it’s fair to say that there are teams in the division that should be playing higher, although I will know once we’ve played some matches.
“In some ways it’s good that we know so little because we can’t make any plans, we have to deal with what we face. It’s not like we can go into a game thinking we should win. We simply don’t know what we’re up against. It should avoid some complacency with a bit of luck.”
Lions get their season off and running against visitors Hambledon tomorrow (1pm), but the hosts are without unavailable duo David Kidner and Ben Bridgen. However, overseas signing Brad Schmulian is in the squad.
Miller added: “Over the years, clubs have tried to beat us on the basis of our track record, so that gives them an added incentive.
“With the player changes we’ve had, there’s going to be a lot of players that will be ex-posed to this level for the first time. I’m confident they will do well but it will be a case of suck it and see.”
Bournemouth: (from) Miller, Hayward, Hurley, Schmulian, Kitson, Russell, Smith, Singh, Cronje, Wainwright, Chaudhry.