Peterhead star Willie Gibson believes they have nothing to lose in their League Cup campaign.
The Blue Toon start their season on Saturday against Brechin City at Glebe Park.
The Hedgemen are a league higher than the Buchan side, with Premiership Dundee, Championship Dunfermline and League Two rivals Stirling Albion in their group.
Gibson is relishing the group stage and believes Peterhead have nothing to lose against the higher-ranked teams.
The 33-year-old midfielder believes they could spring a surprise or two as they have in each of the last two seasons when Dundee and Hearts have been beaten at Balmoor.
Gibson said: “You look at it and you see Dunfermline and Dundee so you expect those two to be in first and second.
“We’ve got nothing to lose in the group stage.
“We’ll enjoy our game at East End Park, I always love going back there personally because I played there.
“We’ll see how it goes, we just need to play like we’ve got nothing to lose.
“The manager wants us to express ourselves so we’ll do that and see where it takes us.
“We saw it last year against Hearts, we beat them, but didn’t go through on goal difference.
“But it shows we can perform against teams at a higher level and I’m sure Dundee and Dunfermline will be more than aware of that.”
Blue Toon boss Jim McInally remains hopeful of adding to his squad before Saturday’s game at Brechin.
He is still searching for a back-up goalkeeper but is unlikely to have one signed by Saturday.
He is considering offering short-term deals to Callum Home and Hashim Bakar to assess their quality in the League Cup group stage.
Peterhead have already signed five players this summer in Ross Kavanagh, Paddy Boyle, Mick Dunlop, Cameron Eadie and Derek Lyle.
Gibson thinks the new faces have settled in well to the squad and hopes they can start the new campaign in similar fashion to how they ended last term, when they won nine of their last 10 matches.
He added: “We’ve got a few new players, but there are still quite a few from last season.
“As a group we’ll look to start the way we finished last season.
“We didn’t go up but the run of wins we had at the end of the season was great.
“We know going to Brechin will be difficult and it’s a cup game so I’m sure the manager will still tinker with his squad a bit.
“But the boys are more than ready for it and whoever is out on the pitch will perform.
“The new signings are settling in well, there are some good characters.
“We were staying in Aberdeen last weekend for our friendly double-header against Fraserburgh and Inverurie and it was good for team bonding.”