AHEAD of every new footballing campaign, the excitement builds across clubs in the United Kingdom and Otley Town are no different.

Town closed their hefty pre-season schedule on Saturday against South Milford- their seventh fixture in that period.

Now they prepare to kick off their league campaign this Saturday at home to Wyke Wanderers (2:30 PM), and they'll be hoping they can push on after a fairly Covid stricken season last year.

And club chairman Kai Arter is relishing his side's competitive return and has high expectations for the upcoming season.

He said: "The feeling is really good going into the Wyke game on Saturday. We've had a positive pre-season, we've added to the squad in the right areas and there is a good bond and spirit between the players.

"It's always very important that you get a good amount of pre-season fixtures in the lead up to the new season and we've done that.

"We've had a good mixture of opposition, some from higher leagues and some from lower leagues but we've performed pretty well in all the games.

"The results are less important than the performances in pre-season and it's about getting the players fitness levels to a high standard.

"It's a really good group and they are raring to go next week. Hopefully we get off to a winning start."

Arter added: "It's going to be a tough opener against Wyke.

"Last season it was a tight game and I think they've improved year on year so I think it will certainly be a challenge.

"The strength of the sides and the competitiveness of the league also seems to be improving each year.

"Our target will obviously be to get promotion.

"We were a bit disappointed with some of the decisions made on the reorganisation of the leagues.

"We would love to push for promotion but we know that it's going to be a tough league. It's a league where historically- anyone can beat anyone.

"It will definitely offer different challenges for everyone but we will definitely push for promotion."

With the season in limbo last year due to the impact of Covid-19, Arter and Otley are hoping for a fairly normal campaign this time out.

He said: "It's brilliant that we are back and playing again, not just for us but for the sport in general.

"It's great for everybody and more importantly for the fans who haven't been able to attend many games over the course of the past 18 months.

"The feeling around the camp is a positive one and we are all eager for the first competitive game of the season.

"Hopefully we have a fairly fluid season and we can return back to some kind of normality."

Arter added: "It's very important for a club at our level to have fans back in attendance too.

"For a club at our level, we also have have a lot of spectators who come and watch so it's a huge positive for the fans, the players and everybody involved with the club.

"It makes a big difference in terms of finance for the club and it is one of main incomes so on that front, it's crucial."