CHESHAM United boss Andy Leese said his side won't be there just to make up the numbers despite having to contend with an exodus from The Meadow over the summer.
Leese has had to assemble almost an entirely new squad after several of the players who took United to three successive play offs opted to leave.
But the Generals boss thinks a lack of expectation from people on the outside looking in might work to his side's advantage in the Southern Premier League this season.
He said: "Expectations will be on some other clubs and maybe not us so much. We've had such a turnover it's going to take a while to establish where we are in the pecking order.
"I'd rather the spotlight was on others and we go about our business.
"We aim to be competitive and be in and around the top end, and the signs are promising."
Leese has been impressed with the performance levels of his players during pre season, with a 2-2 draw against full-time neighbours Wycombe Wanderers the undoubted highlight.
He said: "Despite having lots of new players in, that's pretty much how we've been performing. We haven't always got the results as there's been lots of changes and partnerships we've tried to get gelled.
"We've had some demanding games but it's gone as well as I could have hoped for."
And he said the new-look Chesham will still have their sights set on the end of the table where they've spent the last four seasons and be challenging with the best.
Leese said: "That's the objective. We're not in it to be kicking round the bottom end. What we've established over the close season will be enough to get us around the top half.
"We're a different team, I can't make any bones about that. We lost seven or eight key players so we're a different team and might have to play a bit differently as well."
Chesham start the season with matches against two of the teams Leese expects to be challenging for honours, Truro City and St Neots Town.
United face the 550 mile round trip to Cornwall for the opening game tomorrow before a Tuesday night visit from the side who now boast the Generals' prolific front pairing from last season, Drew Roberts and Chris Dillon, after spending big in the close season.
Leese said: "It's going to be 10 to 15 games in before it takes any shape, but we probably will get an early feel for where we are with those first two fixtures."