Montrose may have made it through to the promotion play-offs last season but boss Stewart Petrie insists the top priority once more as this campaign kicks off will be securing League 1 safety as soon as possible.
The Gable Endies make the long journey down to Stranraer this afternoon to face Stevie Farrell’s side.
It is a tough curtain raiser for Petrie’s men but the Links Park boss admits there will certainly not be any easy games this season in an ultra-competitive division that includes three full-time sides.
The 49-year-old said: “It is the same for us as last year – eighth place will be our goal to start with.
“We will certainly not be getting carried away on last season.
“We went on a great run in the last quarter to sneak into fourth which was an outstanding achievement from the boys but I think the league will be even more competitive this year.
“You have Peterhead and Clyde coming up and if you look at Falkirk, they have recruited magnificently in the summer.
“Some of the ones that Raymond (Bairns boss McKinnon) has brought in are Championship players if not above so I have no doubts that they will be really strong.
“Then you have Raith and Airdrie who are both full time and East Fife have brought in quality as well.
“So it is certainly not any easier but I feel we have improved this year with the signings we have made, there is no doubt about that.
“We just need to hit the ground running and try to pick up as many points as we can in the first quarter then look at it from there.
“We start with the long trip to Stranraer but it doesn’t matter when you go there, Stevie’s teams are always a tough proposition.
“But hopefully we can get ourselves off to a good start. Anything you get at Stranraer is a bonus so we will have to work our socks off.”
Petrie admitted he is happy with the squad at his disposal and also expressed his delight that recent signing, former Dundee centre-half Kerr Waddell, is making progress as he looks to attain full match fitness.
Petrie said: “It was Kerr’s first 90 minutes for five months last week against Brechin in the Betfred Cup so I was delighted with that.
“We just need to get as much game time into him and obviously work on his fitness as well because it is down a little compared to the other boys.
“But he is picking up quickly and we are delighted with his progress so far.
“We are really happy with where we are at with the squad. There may well be one space available.
“The window closes for us at the end of September for loan players so we may well look to add one but that would be it.
“However, we are pretty content at the moment with where we are at. We are happy with the squad.
“Bringing Kerr in was the big one for us as we needed a dominant centre-half.”
Craig Johnston is out injured for Montrose while Martin Rennie is struggling and Cammy Ballantyne is suspended.