Grant McCann believes Hull City have momentum behind them heading into the new Championship season.
Life back in the second tier begins with a trip to Preston – three months after winning the League One title.
Promotion, and then a first league championship in 55 years, was secured on the back of a 14-match unbeaten run.
McCann is hoping his team can carry that confidence and belief into 2021/22 but knows Frankie McAvoy’s Lilywhites – who finished 13th last term – pose a tricky first assignment.
“Preston are an established Championship team who have been flirting in and around the top six for a few years,” said McCann.
“There’s a different style and approach from Alex Neil to Frankie, a different system. They’re a good team with good individuals. They finished last season strongly and have momentum carrying over from that.
“All we can do is go there and look forward to the game, embrace the challenge.
“We’ve got momentum ourselves off the back of last season; we went 14 games unbeaten before the last match at Charlton. We want to try and build on that.
“We understand it’s a different league, stronger opposition but that winning mentality that breeds through our camp is hard to take away.
“We want to go there, give a good account of ourselves and be ultra-competitive.”
The main difference this season to last – aside from league status – will be the long-awaited return of supporters to stadiums.
Over 1,500 Hull City fans will be at Deepdale to cheer on McCann’s men – and the boss cannot wait to see and hear their support.
“It feels like a lifetime ago that we had fans in the stadium,” McCann admitted.
“Given we’ve got supporters back in the stadium and Hull City fans behind that goal, everyone is chomping at the bit and looking forward to it.
“It’s going to be amazing to witness fans back in the stadium. I don’t know how many will be at the game (in total) but to have Hull City fans behind the goal will be great for us.
“Hopefully, when we’re going that way, they can suck the ball into the net and help us go and achieve what we want to achieve.”