Gary Hamilton insists there was as much relief as anticipation of the new season ahead when he welcomed Glenavon's players back to pre-season training.
The Lurgan Blues get the new campaign under way with a tasty derby game against newly-promoted Portadown at Mourneview Park next Saturday and, having drafted in experienced players such as Michael O'Connor, Colin Coates and Sean Ward, Hamilton is hoping for a good start but reveals he is just happy to be back after seven months away.
"People are struggling with the coronavirus pandemic and all the restrictions it has brought," Hamilton explains.
"Public health is very important at this time, and so too is mental health. It's great for the players to be back and it would be great if we could have full capacity allowed too, but whether that can happen is another thing.
"I always try to be positive and I'm just glad to see the lads back in training with smiles on their faces.
"Just like butchers, builders, whoever, I and my playing staff were delighted to be allowed to go back to work with all the benefits that brings, because mental health is a big issue."
Evergreen player-manager Hamilton has enjoyed great success mixing youth and experience in his time at his hometown club, whom he led to Irish Cup glory in 2014 and 2016.
In years gone by, he blended seasoned pros such as Winkie Murphy, Eddie McCallion, Kris Lindsay and Kyle Neill with exciting young talents Mark Sykes, Rhys Marshall and Bobby Burns, all of whom moved on to full-time football elsewhere.
And he insists he will continue to give youth a chance this season alongside the aforementioned O'Connor, Coates and Ward, all now in their 30s.
"We will always give young players a platform here at Glenavon," he maintains.
"It's about managing those young players and getting the balance right.
"We have already seen Jordan Jenkins and Jack O'Mahony in the first team, Robbie Norton is now back from a cruciate ligament injury and there are others, such as Ross Hunter and Oisin Barr.
"After that, we have very young players like Owen Taylor, who can play left-back or left wing, and Lee Rea, who we recently signed from Linfield.
"These are the type of players we want to be ready to challenge for a slot in the first team, alongside experienced players to nurture them."
Nevertheless, former Northern Ireland striker Hamilton accepts that sides with larger panels will have an advantage in the new Danske Bank Premiership season.
"Clubs with more money and bigger squads should have the advantage," he says.
"I've been speaking to managers from clubs in and around us who have all had their budgets cut and are looking to bring young players through.
"The more you pay, the better quality you will get, it's as simple as that and I think squad depth will be important because of the injuries that are anticipated with so many games to be played.
"Full-time clubs will be able to offer proper recovery and rehabilitation time, which will help with injuries, whereas many of my players will have to go into work the day or night after a game.
"It is what it is and I'm not complaining. I'm just glad to have football back."