BATTLE-SCARRED hero Efe Sodje leads Town back into competitive action tomorrow pledging: "We can challenge for promotion again!"
The rugged defender is aiming to keep a clean sheet against Stockport County at Edgeley Park (3.00) in what he hopes will be the platform for an opening day win in Coca-Cola League I.
Twice a promotion winner from this division in the past, Sodje is confident Peter Jackson's side can follow up their Millennium Stadium success by pressing for a return to the newly-named Championship - and he's delighted Town will have the immediate backing of more than 2,000 fans.
"There will be a lot more teams fighting for promotion this season because it's a better quality division - but we will be one of them," said Sodje, who is expected to play alongside Steve Yates and David Mirfin against Sammy McIlroy's side.
"To win promotion last season when the squad basically came together only at the last minute was an amazing achievement, so with a year of development and experience under our belts I'm very optimistic this time.
"We are strong and fit, we've had a good pre-season and we've carried through the momentum from winning the play-offs - so the lads are raring to go.
"It will be great to see so many fans over at Stockport tomorrow and we know we'll have great backing wherever we go this season.
"Our supporters have been snapping up tickets for all our early-season games and that will be a massive help."
Sodje says new signings Junior Mendes - the ex-Mansfield striker who will partner Andy Booth up front - and midfielder Chris Brandon have settled in well and will be aiming to launch their Town careers with three points.
"They've both said we have the best team spirit they've ever come across, so that shows how much commitment there is in the club," said Sodje.
"We haven't won on opening day since 2001, but that will change tomorrow."