Inverurie Locos boss Andy Low is relishing an opening-day tussle against Highland League champions Brora Rangers.
The Highland League have published the first three rounds of fixtures for the 2020-21 season, with champions Brora hosting Locos at Dudgeon Park on October 17.
The Highland League have opted for a 16-game season this term with sides facing each other only once.
The fixtures are “contingent upon receiving government advice that matches may proceed with spectators in attendance”.
Low said: “It is great and it gives us something to plan towards. We obviously couldn’t get a tougher start.
“But if you have any ambition about yourself, like we have at Inverurie Locos, then you look forward to games like this one.
“We know we have to improve and this will be a good test for us on the first game of the season.
“Our pre-season has been great so far. The guys have come back very fit after lockdown, they had clearly been looking after themselves. We have been working on getting their match-related fitness up to where we want it to be.
“They have bought into that really well and they are looking good.
“We have a game on Tuesday night against Hall Russell in a friendly, so we are looking forward to that, and then we have Peterhead at home on Saturday.
“We have a few games coming up and they will be a different type of test for us.”
The Inverurie Locos boss admitted he is unsure how likely it is that spectators will be allowed into grounds for the start of the season.
Earlier this month, the Scottish Government pushed back the indicative date for the return of spectators by three weeks to October 5 at the earliest. But with coronavirus cases rising across the country, that date could be pushed back further.
Low added: “I think it is a concern, but I like the fact they are giving us an opportunity to plan ahead and to strive towards the start of the season.
“With the way things are going at this moment in time, it appears it is going to be difficult to get spectators back in the grounds for October 17.
“But the big thing that I have realised through all of this is that things change very quickly.
“One week you think it is very negative and then the next week things seem to change in a positive sense.
“Hopefully over the next week or two things change in the right direction and we can kick on from there.”
The Highland League has announced the semi-final ties of the 2019-20 Utilita Highland League Cup will be held on Saturday 7 November 2020, with Brora Rangers taking on Buckie Thistle and Formartine United facing Rothes.
A spokesman for the Highland League committee said: “Home clubs must have received SHFL approval for their matchday arrangements prior to the match taking place.
“It has not been possible, at this stage, to provide the full fixture programme for the forthcoming season – the arrangements for the Scottish Cup, including dates on which SHFL clubs may be heavily involved, have yet to be finalised – the full programme will be published as soon as possible.”