TOWN will come up against a familiar face - and at least four new signings - when they kick-off their Coca-Cola League I fixtures at Stockport on Saturday, August 7.
Former Leeds Road favourite and one-time McAlpine coach Mark Lillis is second-in-command to Sammy McIlroy at Edgeley Park.
The pair worked together at Macclesfield, then Northern Ireland, before moving to Cheshire.
That was last October, and while the pair had to make do with a final placing of 19th in Division II last season, they are determined to do much better this time around.
After leading his squad on a post-season tour of China, McIlroy was straight back to work to sign four new players.
Leeds old boy Warren Feeney, scorer of 12 goals for Bournemouth last season, and fellow striker Marc Bridge-Wilkinson, who netted seven for Port Vale, have bolstered McIlroy's frontline options.
Defender Lee Mair has moved from Dundee while goalkeeper Neil Cutler has switched from Stoke.
McIlroy hasn't ruled out making further moves in the transfer market before County and Town come face to face for the first time since April 2003, when Town slumped 2-1 at Edgeley on their way to relegation to what was then Division III.
Stockport were among Town's opponents in their first-ever Football League campaign, 1910-11, winning 1-0 at Edgeley before Town triumphed 4-1 in the return.
In all, there have been 40 previous clashes, Town winning 17 (the biggest by 5-0 margins at home in 1919-20 and 1979-80) and County 11 (they scored five without reply at Edgeley in 1992-93).
Bookmakers totesport rate Town 18/1 to win the League I title and Stockport 40/1.
Bristol City are 4/1 favourites, Tranmere 7/1 and Hull and Swindon 8/1 while the longest odds are 200/1 on Chesterfield, who are Town's first visitors of the new campaign, on Tuesday, August 10.