A GUNNEDAH FC veteran believes the side's "excellent pre-season" will help them bounce back from their round two defeat at the hands of South Lightning.
FC suffered losses in both first and second grade against the Lightning, who had the same team of 11 players suit up for both games.
Wellington Sardhina said "things were in place" for FC to succeed this season.
"I think this has been the best preparation we have had for a season in four or five years," Sardhina said.
"We've had really good numbers at training, have been working on our fitness and are eager to play good football.
"All the elements are there for a good season, that's for sure."
Saturday's clash against Moore Creek Mountain Goats will be the club's first outing since April 13, due to the Easter long weekend and last week's wash-out.
"I don't think the losses against South Lightning were necessarily a bad thing," Sardhina said.
"If anything, I think they will have reinforced to our guys that this is a very even competition this season and we will always have to be on our game to win."
This clash will mark the first time FC will meet the Mountain Goats.
"They are a little bit of an unknown to us, which is a good thing I think," Sardhina said.
"We know they will have a good squad, other than that we don't know too much about them.
"Hopefully, that will keep us on our toes because I'm sure it will be a really tight game."
Sardhina said he believed the competition had "become more even" this season.
"Speaking from my experience in the last few years, this season seems to be a lot more competitive," he said.
"New sides like the Mountain Goats and Oxley Vale Attunga have brought fresh challenges to the competition, which is great.
"I think we will really need to be on our game every week but I'm confident the preparation we have put in so far this pre-season will hold us in good stead."