Comrades keeper Paddy Flood says the revamped Reds mean business this year.
The 22-year-old stopper is confident Ballyclare have what it takes to achieve their season goal of promotion.
Eddie Hill’s men get their campaign under way with a trip to Queen’s on Saturday and Flood knows it’s crucial for the Dixon Park men to start as they mean to go on.
“Queen’s are always well organised but the lads, along with Eddie, Gary Bell and Stuart McLean, are ready to go. We are confident we have the quality to go out and get the three points. We want to send an early signal to the league that we mean business and we will put everything into achieving promotion,” he said.
“I really can’t wait to get the season started. We’ve had a brilliant pre-season with all the lads putting in huge effort and commitment. We’ve also put in some good, and very hard-working performances against top sides like Crusaders and Glentoran.”
There have been changes in personnel from the squad which finished sixth in Championship 2 last time around. Andrew Simms, William Wharry and Scott Irvine left for Larne but in came Kyle Agnew, Andrew Doyle and Darren Doherty from Nortel.
Earlier in the summer, boss Hill, who is going into his first full season in charge, described the turnover in the playing staff as an “opportunity for a new beginning”. Flood couldn’t agree more with his gaffer.
“We definitely have the quality there and each and every one of us will do everything we can to achieve our goal and get us back to where we belong.
“We lost a few key players but the new boys have come in and been superb. Andrew Doyle has looked outstanding along with Kyle Agnew, who, I’m certain, will give us goals.
“Ross Earley and Gary Brown were at the club before so they know most of the lads. They’re both exciting players to watch and give us great energy which will be crucial.”
Hill has also added midfielder Gerard McAlea to the ranks and there’s a return to the club for Marty McAvoy after a spell at Brantwood.
Added Flood: “The squad looks strong and fit throughout with great competition in every position, which can only be a good thing. We all know if we aren’t doing it on the pitch, the gaffer will just change it up.”
Report by John Gillespie | Twitter: @Times_Sport