NIGEL WORTHINGTON confesses to having a “little knot” in the stomach as his York City charges prepare to renew Sky Bet League Two battle on Saturday.
The Minstermen manager declared he still gets as excited about the start of a new campaign as he did when he was player and after three decades in the game.
He takes his side to Tranmere to play an outfit looking to recover quickly following relegation from League One last season.
And Worthington believes Rovers will pose serious questions of his redeveloped team - which could see as many as six players make their debuts in York’s starting line up - as they bid to improve on last term’s seventh place finish.
“You’ve got to have that buzz - that little knot in your tummy - it’s almost, dare I say it, like the first day back at school and that was a long time ago,” Worthington said when asked how he felt about the upcoming season.
“You still remember it and that’s what it is all about, those lovely, lush pitches, that it’s guaranteed nine times out of ten that it is going to be boiling hot.
“It’s going to be frantic and we are playing against a team who were relegated and are going to have a fair sprinkling of League One players in their side.
“It is going to be a good test for us but, hopefully, we can stand up to it.”
On the prospect of playing a team that could have lingering memories of last season’s struggles, Worthington added: “It can be a hindrance there is no doubt out that. That’s something that we have got to put to the back of our minds. We have got to focus on ourselves and try and get out of the traps early on and then take the fight to Tranmere.
“We are away from home. We have to try and keep it tight. Prenton Park can be, at times, on top of you. It is quite tight. As a player, you have got to deal with that and go and play how we can play.
“That’s keeping your nerve and being positive and assured of what you are doing.
“What I have seen over the last six weeks, they are in good form, they have worked hard, there is a good spirit among them - which is very, very important - and they all seem as if they are looking forward to Saturday.”
Worthington has a full squad to pick from, aside from the long-term injury to Josh Carson and the recovering Wes Fletcher who has just resumed full training and he said: “Everybody is looking decent. They are looking sharp. Following six games in pre-season, there comes a point in time where everyone gets fed up and wants to get on with the real McCoy, as it were.
“We are now there. It will be heads down and trying to make it happen tomorrow. Three points would be a fantastic start. There are seven games over the next 22 days so it is going to be hectic, there will be a few bumps and knocks and so the squad has got to be ready to step in.”