Dundee United must “hit the ground running” when the new season starts, according to striker Nicky Clark.
The former Dunfermline player will be thrown right in at the deep end, along with fellow ex-Par Fraser Aird, when the Tangerines open their Championship campaign against his old club at Tannadice on August 4.
Clark is looking to get off to a flyer because he knows momentum can be absolutely crucial when it comes to mounting a promotion challenge.
He said: “It is a massive thing in this league to hit the ground running.
“If you are struggling for the first month or two, then it can be hard to get going after that.
“So it’s important to gather momentum and then try to kick on.
“It’s a big thing to begin positively and we know it has the potential to stand us in good stead moving forward.
“We actually started really well at Dunfermline last season but then hit a wall. The key thing is to keep the momentum going.
“It’s down to us to go and prove ourselves.
“People are saying we will be favourites as we are an established club but we still have to show why they might think that.
“Whoever goes out there basically needs to prove we are the best team in the division.
“A ball hasn’t even been kicked yet but already people are talking as though we’re the stand-out team but you have to earn things in this league.”
Before the serious stuff begins there is the pre-season programme, which kicks off at Glebe Park against Brechin tomorrow night.
The Tangerines’ new trialist Gilmar is expected to get some game time.
Clark is also hoping for a runout against City, saying: “I can’t wait to get going.
“The Championship is a notoriously hard division, as everyone knows, so it will be challenging for us and we need to be ready.
“That’s why we’re all working our socks off in pre-season.
“This is a massive club and we just want to do our best to hopefully get United back to where we belong.”