LEE Sinnott has urged his Altrincham players to believe in themselves, ahead of an eagerly-awaited Vanarama Conference opener at Aldershot on Saturday.
Newly-promoted Alty are in for an early reminder of the company they are now keeping, with the Aldershot trip followed by home games against two more former Football League names, in Lincoln City next Tuesday, (7.45pm) and Bristol Rovers the Saturday after.
But after seeing the pre-season programme rounded off with impressive performances against Accrington Stanley and Shrewsbury Town, Sinnott is adamant they should not feel out of place.
"The players know they have to do the ugly side of things, graft and scrap for possession, but once they've got the ball, I want them to show people how they can play," said the Alty manager.
"The message is believe in yourself and be confident in your ability, because there is no doubt these players are capable of asking people questions.
"They did it against Accrington and Shrewsbury, and I want to see it in the Conference. Bravery comes in different forms on a football pitch.
"You can slide into tackles or put your head down among flying boots, but it's also about getting on the ball and playing your football.
"I want us to be brave enough to do that, because I know these players have it in them. I train them and I watch them in games, and I know what they are capable of.
"Maybe they don't know themselves, but I am trying to get that out of them by showing them confidence and trust.
"I want to watch football that I enjoy. If there's a mantra that could be attached to me, it's that I want to sit on the bench and enjoy what I'm watching, because if I am, there's every chance the people behind me in the stand, and on the terraces, will be as well.
"The new season has come round quickly, but we are really looking forward to it. It's three years since we lost our place in the Conference National, but that's a distant memory.
"Now it's a sense of euphoria at going into a new campaign back in the top flight. Who knows what lies ahead, but let's have a go at it. We are ready."