Peterhead co-manager Jordon Brown says the Blue Toon are motivated by the chance to prove a point in League Two.
The Balmoor Stadium side, who were relegated from League One last season, start their League Two campaign at East Fife tomorrow.
And player/co-boss Brown acknowledges his side might face more scrutiny than other teams in the league after suffering the drop, but has urged his players to believe in themselves.
He said: “We’ve set expectations internally and they have been drummed into the guys since day one of pre-season.
“We’ve set standards and challenges that we want to address – we want to be really competitive, but all of that is very much internal stuff.
“A lot of people might be looking at us with questions because we’ve come down from League One, there has been a turnover in players and a new management team, but we will be looking to use those things to our advantage.
“We’ve only got to prove things to ourselves and keep that in house, but of course there is the ambition to go and do well and prove people wrong.
“The club has been in a transition period and we’ve got to make sure we’re coming out of the other end in a stronger position.”
Brown expecting challenging start at East Fife
After last season where the Blue Toon won only three times in the league, Brown knows his side must start this campaign on a positive note.
Brown said: “We’ve had our bedding in period now with pre-season and the League Cup, so there can be no excuses after Saturday.
“East Fife is a place that Ryan and I know well, and so do the boys. It’s going to be tough because they’re an established team with good experience in their ranks and they’ve strengthened their squad.
“We need to beat these sort of teams if we want to be challenging. No matter whether that’s the first game of the season or come April or May.”
East Fife, Brown says, is just the beginning of what he expects to be a challenging and competitive season in the Scottish fourth-tier.
He added: “We’ve got boys in the squad who have good experience and they’re all fully on board with how difficult League Two is going to be.
“There are probably five or six teams who will fancy their chances to be challenging up there at the top of the table.
“We’re under no illusion at how tough it will be, and it doesn’t get tougher than starting the season at a team who has already been tipped to win it.”
Kieran Gibbons and Joe McKee have been ruled out for Peterhead’s opener against East Fife, while defender Scott Ross is a doubt.
Meanwhile, midfielder Arran Smith, 16, has joined Buchanhaven Hearts JFC on a six-month loan.