Dungannon boss Kris Lindsay expects this season to be more competitive than ever - and says a strong start is vital.
The Swifts kick off their 18th season in the top flight at Larne this afternoon. Once again survival is the priority - and Lindsay is keen to avoid the inconsistency of last term.
They led the table in late August, then slumped spectacularly during a bleak three-month period. At one stage their Premiership status looked in jeopardy, before a rousing finale saw them eventually finish ninth.
Lindsay expects the league to be stronger than ever.
"You look at the sides coming up - Larne, who are full-time, then Portadown last season," he said. "From top to bottom, there are competitive teams throughout the league.
"Each week teams are going to have to be at their best, and it looks set to be a very exciting league campaign."
Dungannon have revamped their squad for the new season.
Ex-Crusaders midfielder Dylan O'Kane and forward Lorcan Forde, previously of Warrenpoint, have both arrived, with several fringe players departing.
They have also had an encouraging pre-season campaign.
Now, though, Lindsay is looking forward to a return to competitive football.
"It is great to get back, I think everyone is ready for it," he said.
"We have not had competitive games since March, pre-season has been long and, while it is useful to try things out, it is not the same. I think everyone feels the same - it is great to return to competitive action."
After today's game at Larne, Dungannon host Warrenpoint on October 24 and are at Glenavon on October 31. They then play five times in November.
Lindsay admits a good start is essential, adding: "We took 10 points from our first four games last season and if we can do similar this season it would be great. It is important to get points on the board to build momentum.
"With the league even more competitive, it is going to be massive to pick up points against the teams around you.
"We play Warrenpoint, then Glenavon, then in November we have games against Portadown and Carrick. It is important to take points from those games."