Inverurie Locos boss Andy Low is looking for defensive resilience and consistency as his side get their Highland League campaign up and running against Keith at Harlaw Park today.
Locos finished runners-up in the division last season, but conceded 40 goals, the highest of any side in the top six when play was halted due to the coronavirus outbreak.
With a new 15-game campaign starting this afternoon, the Locos manager is looking for an improvement at the back from his side.
He said: “Locos always tend to score a lot of goals and also concede one or two.
“But it would be good to get consistency in clean sheets and it’s something we’ve worked hard on in pre-season training.”
Low seen today’s opponents Keith up close already this season, but he expects a very different match today than when the sides met in a pre-season friendly.
He said: “A bounce game in pre-season is totally different and I think it will be an organised Keith side with Andy Roddie and Tommy Wilson, who are good guys that I have a lot of respect for.
“We’ll need to be at our best to win the game.”
Lossiemouth manager Joe Russell believes Fraserburgh, who are the visitors to Grant Park today, are the biggest threat to champions Brora Rangers and their hopes of retaining the title.
But that does not alter his belief his side can test the Broch this afternoon.
Russell said: “There are a few teams who will be fancying their chances, but I think whoever comes out on top between Fraserburgh and Brora will be champions.
“Fraserburgh are a strong side, but our guys are itching to get going and I have no doubt they will go out and give everything. It’s a great game to the start with.”
Midfielder Ross Elliott is a doubt for the Coasters after suffering an ankle injury in their friendly against Alford last week.
Turriff United manager Kris Hunter welcomes his former club Formartine United to the Haughs for their opener.
With clubs in Aberdeenshire unable to let fans in due to being in tier 1 of the Covid-19 restrictions, the playing squad at Turriff will not be paid.
Hunter insists the decision by the squad speaks volumes about the attitude of his players.
Hunter, who is without James Chalmers due to a broken toe, said: “Everyone involved has shown massive commitment to Turriff. We’re not taking wages until things get more back to normal and the club is getting some income.
“The players have been great and they’ve been eager to just get back playing because that’s what they enjoy.
“Fair play to them and the coaching staff that they’re willing to do it, we’re delighted with the attitude.
“It’s also worth remembering that there are a lot of people outwith the playing side who have given many years of work to the club without ever getting a wage.
“That tells you a lot about Turriff because there are a lot of people who do a lot simply for the love of the club.”