Midfielder Ian Harkes feels some people would be happy to see Dundee United struggle this season.
However, he is determined that they won’t get the chance to enjoy some schadenfreude.
The Tangerines kick off their fourth promotion campaign against Inverness Caley Thistle this afternoon as favourites to lift the title in May.
Manager Robbie Neilson has enjoyed the impressive financial backing of club owner Mark Ogren and most people – Dundee fans perhaps being the exception – view them as the biggest club in the Championship.
Human nature being what it is, it is maybe no surprise that there will be a few folk smiling should they struggle.
The job facing Harkes and his teammates is to deprive the would-be gloaters of opportunities.
They can do that by stamping their authority on the division, starting against ICT.
He said: “I think everyone outside our changing room and our club wants us to fail.
“There is always that added pressure at a club like this one.
“We have to stick together as a group and deal with it.
“There are going to be ups and downs but hopefully there are more ups than downs for us this season.
“Obviously we were disappointed with the way it finished last season but we know what we need to do to get back up.
“We have to hit the ground running, start the season well then build on that.
“We are definitely excited about getting going again.
“The club really needs to get back up, especially for the fans.
“We have been down for a few years and it’s time to do something about that.
“We need to give it a big push.
“Our aim is to win the league outright and step up that way.”
United’s build-up to the ICT curtain-raiser was a friendly loss down at Shrewsbury that followed a dismal defeat at home to East Fife in the Betfred Cup.
Improvement is needed to deal with the Highlanders but Harkes is sure United will be in much better shape.
He added: “We don’t want games like that East Fife one to happen but it might be a blessing in disguise that it came before the league season started.
“It might be a bit of a wake-up call.
“We have to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“I think we are ready.
“We have a lot of experience in our squad, including guys who have been in the top division.
“It is a tough league but we know what it is all about.
“For example, Inverness are a big team and will come after us.
“Every game we played against them last year was tough so we know we have to be ready for this.”
While Harkes accepts that United will be a desirable scalp for other teams in the division, he also feels others might feel the heat.
He said: “I think there is pressure on Dundee, having just come down.
“They will want to get straight back up so there might be good competition between us when we play each other.
“There are other clubs who will think it is their year and that they deserve to be promoted.
“There are a few big teams in the Championship who think they should be in the Premiership so it will be a tough league.”
Harkes had his pre-season programme curtailed slightly by a gluteus muscle injury but he is fit and desperate to face Inverness today.
He said: “I am feeling all right.
“I had a small injury at the start of pre-season but that just kept me out for a couple of days.
“I was happy to get back into it quickly.
“I have to keep pushing myself to get minutes and make an impact in the team.
“I am keen to boost my numbers as regards game time.
“Now I know what the league is about and the opposition we will come up against then hopefully I can get a run in the side and do well.”