North Wales Crusaders are in a better position than they were last season, according to head coach Anthony Murray.
The Wrexham club will open their 2019 campaign on Sunday, when they travel to Cumbria to take on Workington Town.
Crusaders are starting their season a week later than the majority of other League 1 sides, with Workington beating Oldham last weekend.
Murray said: “I was thankful for the week off last week because we had quite a few injuries coming out of the friendlies and training, but I’m looking forward to what will be a tough game up at Workington.
“I can’t wait for the season to get started now.
“We’ve picked through the Coventry game and realised we need to be a lot better in some areas, but we were pleased with some other areas.
“We looked a lot fitter than we’ve been and the contact in the tackle was better. Those are the sort of things we’ve been focusing on so that was pleasing.
“You come to expect that game structure and things like that can be a bit hit and miss in pre-season because the lads are gelling together.”
Given Workington beat Oldham, one of the favourites for promotion this season, in their opener, Sunday’s clash could be a good measure to see where Crusaders are at.
“They’ve put a marker down for what the level needs to be in League 1,” Murray said. “There aren’t many teams that’ll go to Oldham and win.
“I’ve watched the game and it was a great effort from both teams.
“It’s going to be a difficult one and we’re going to need to be at our best to get anything from the game. It’s going to be a hard-fought contest.
“We need focus on the things we need to, like respecting possession and not giving silly penalties away. If you go over to Cumbria and give them too much ball and penalties, they’ll punish you.
“All of the lads are ready to go. I hope we can put in a good display and show how hard we’ve worked during pre-season.”