Flanker Kieron Dawson believes that Ulster will finally be able to reach the knockout stages of the Heineken Cup for the first time since winning the trophy in 1999.
Ulster still face a difficult task to reach the quarter-finals having been drawn in Pool Four with Stade Francais, Llanelli and London Harlequins.
"Considering some of the draws we've had over the last few years we're very happy indeed but obviously all the teams are going to be very difficult.
"Looking at some of the other groups and some that we have been in, in the last few years we're quiet happy," stated Dawson.
Ulster clash with perennial under-achievers Stade Francais who failed to get out of their group last time and have a bad record at Ravenhill.
"It will be interesting to see what way the draws goes. If we get them in Belfast before we go to Paris it would be another great thing for us. Hopefully they'll be gone by the time we get to Paris but those things are out of our control.
"We have to concentrate on winning our home games and trying to nick some on the road," he continued.
Llanelli had a poor season by their high standards last year with a six place Magners League finish and elimination in the group stages of the Heineken but they have recruited heavily during the close season with Australian loose forward David Lyons and former All Black World Cup prop Kees Meeuws and Dawson won't be taking them lightly.
"We had them two years ago and they went through the group unbeaten and played superbly. Then last year they didn't win a game but they were in the group of death.
"It's hard to measure them last year. The only thing we can go by is the last time we had them in Europe and they were absolutely superb."
Pool Four is completed by London Harlequins who Ulster have never faced in a competitive game.
With new All Black recruit Nick Evans joining the likes of England flyer David Strettle and Andrew Trimble, the Ulster backs could have their hands full but Dawson is looking forward to returning to the Stoop where he had many great Premiership battles with Quins during his time at London Irish.
"For a couple of season when I was with London Irish we were based at The Stoop and it's a lovely place to go and play.
"It's a traditional rugby ground and is a place where the lads really enjoy playing. You get a lot of travelling support and there is a lot of London-based support for us so hopefully that could be like a home game for us as well," stressed Dawson.
Last season Ulster only registered one win from their six group games but with Matt Williams about to start his first full season in charge and with new faces in the squad there is an air of optimism at Ravenhill ahead of the new campaign.
"We've started pre-season early and were working very hard. Nobody was happy with our performance last year, particularity the players, and there is a real determination to do better this year.
"Realistically we want to be getting out of that group and we have got to set our targets high and try and go for a home quarter final. It is a difficult group so just getting out of it will be an achievement for us," concluded Dawson.
Guinness Premiership champions Wasps will have to be at their very best if they are to make an impact on next season's Heineken Cup, according to director of rugby Ian McGeechan.
Yesterday's draw for the group stage of the 2008-09 tournament — the first to use European Rugby Cup's new ranking system based on performances over the last four seasons — pitted the London club against the testing trio of Magners League winners Leinster, Castres, and Edinburgh.