Eastbourne Rugby first team coach Mal Chumbley believes his side will face one of the favourites for the title as they travel to Pulborough on Saturday.
The Blue and Golds will begin their 2013-14 Sussex Spitfire division one campaign against a Pulborough side still licking their wounds following relegation from the London South East Three last season.
Pulborough find themselves in a the same situation Eastbourne were in this time last year.
They took some heavy beatings in the London league but they are expected to compete well this season.
Coach Chumbley believes the hosts will be challenging this season alongside Eastbourne, Crawley and possibly Crowborough seconds.
He said, “I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s great that we have a tough game to get our season going. We have to be at it from the very beginning as I know we will have a tough match on our hands.
“Pulborough will be hoping to hit back after last season but hopefully we will be able to match that intensity.”
The Eastbourne coach is delighted with the pre-season preparations and believes this season’s squad is an improvement on the side that came so close to promotion last season.
“We are looking good. We have added in key areas and now we have competition for players. Last season was a players’ market and we were working around them. This year I think that has changed and established first teamers know they now have to fight to keep their place.
“It’s a very healthy situation and it should bode well for the season.”
Tom Redmond has been announced as first team skipper with Steve Clarke as vice captain. Last season’s skipper Joe Tobin remains sidelined following a horrific knee injury.
“Joe continues his recovery. He is back and working again but we have to be patient and wait until his knee is 100 per cent.”