Phil Brown is looking forward to Southend United’s opening day game away to King’s Lynn Town with the chance to ‘put a marker down’ for the season ahead.
The Blues boss gave his reaction following the 2021/22 Vanarama National League fixtures announcement on Wednesday afternoon.
"I’m looking forward to it," said Brown
"It’s going into the unknown a little bit because by definition I’ve never managed at this level.
"But that doesn’t mean to say we’re going in fearing anything or going in with trepidation, it’s just the way it is.
"It’s always an exciting time when the fixtures come out, it doesn’t matter what division you’re in and I was really looking to the fixtures coming out.
"The first game is always a key one. With it being a club that I’ve never been to before it’s exciting and will set a marker down for us.
"It will set a standard of the division and how strong teams are that we’ve not faced before. We’ll certainly be doing our homework.
"The second one is against one of the pre-season favourites in Stockport and it’s our first home game with our home crowd back, I hope.
"If we can get somewhere near the level of season card holders we think we're going to get, if we can get a charge sales and have a full house for that fixture, again it’s another one that we could put a marker down in."
Blues end the season with two home games, against Weymouth and Torquay United.
With the likelihood of full capacity stadiums from the start of the season, Brown added having the supporters back will be a huge boost.
"We're not looking that far ahead [to May] but we have to make Roots Hall a fortress with the season card holders that we have. With the reputation that we have as a club from a higher division but also a reputation of a club that has just had back-to-back relegations.
"We have to use that reputation, but the reputation out there is one that paints a bad picture that we’ve been losing for the last two years.
"Hopefully the six games at the end of last season put a marker down for a team managed by myself, as opposed to any other manager.
"We need to stamp our authority, put the past two years to bed and [show] that the new season will see a change in fortunes, which starts with winning games at home."