Airdrieonians are looking to at least finish in the play-offs in Ladbrokes League 1 after narrowly missing out on the top four last time round.
Director and Company Secretary Ann Marie Ballantyne praised the side’s fifth-place finish in 2014/15 but wants to see them go one better.
She said: “Our ambition is still the same but it’s one step at a time. We are aiming for a minimum of the play-offs this season - we want to be in the Championship and then get established on a firm footing there.”
Ladbrokes League 1 could be the tightest division in Scotland this year. Dunfermline Athletic and Ayr United have new bosses in Allan Johnston and Ian McCall - a former Airdrie gaffer - while Cowdenbeath dropping down a league and the promotion of Albion Rovers creates Fife and Lanarkshire derbies.
The Diamonds made several new signings this summer, with gaffer Gary Bollan snapping up goalkeeper Neil Parry and former Hibs defender David Van Zanten, among others, while striker Jim Lister has signed a new deal.
Over the past couple of seasons Airdrie have traditionally performed inconsistently over the first half of the year, but Ballantyne believes having early signings sets them in good stead.
She added: “This year our intention is to get a good start which is why the manager has tried to get as many under contract as early as possible. This helps with pre-season training and allows him to try formations rather than possible playing staff.”
Five U20 players have had their contracts extended too, reiterating new owner Tom Wotherspoon’s desire to build a strong team around youth.
A similar model was used at fellow Lanarkshire club Hamilton Accies and helped them reach the top flight, where they more than held their own.
Ann Marie added: “We have always modelled on Hamilton since day one. Our youth set-up improves year by year and is reflected in coaches becoming more qualified and gaining better experience. We are established in the CAS system and hope to improve our MPO score as we go on.”