All the pre-season running on the beach and up Mauao will pay off for the Tauranga City United players on Saturday when their first pre-season game kicks off at 3.30pm against Hibiscus Coast at Links Avenue.
The game against their opponents from the Northern League first division - one tier ahead of Tauranga City in division two - is the first step on a long journey new coach Duncan Lowry hopes will end later this year with winning the Pascoe Shield and promotion to division one.
While getting closer to a return to the Northern League's premier division is a constant driving force for Lowry, the former Matamata coach has been preoccupied with putting his squad together over summer.
"The first major job was to hold on to everyone we had at the club and I think the nucleus of who we wanted have stayed, plus a core group of the Matamata boys I have worked with for four to five years who I know inside out," said Lowry.
"It is really taking shape but with pre-season, it is really about getting everyone together on the same nights for training. There are still three or four key players involved with cricket.
"There is a very positive outlook for City in 2013 and a good vibe among the players and there has been good feedback so far. I have had some calls from players who want to come and play for us but I have given the players who were here last year the benefit."
Sunday's game is important for Lowry and the other coaches to see where the players are at five weeks before the season kicks off. The curtainraiser to Sunday's game is a possibles and probables trial for the Federation 1 and 2 teams with the Federation pre-season cup kicking off on February 23.