With just 48 hours to go until another domestic season officially kicks off with the new-look League Cup, there’s lots for Dundee United fans to feel excited about.
Relegation from the Premiership still hurts but, for Arabs, some of the gloom has been lifted by the appointment of new manager Ray McKinnon.
And the work he’s been putting in, both in terms of the signings he’s made and the performances of his team, has been encouraging.
Starting with Friday night’s televised tie at Arbroath, there’s good reason to believe United have a decent chance of progressing from the group stages of the League Cup.
It’s also reasonable to expect they will be capable of mounting a strong promotion challenge.
That doesn’t change the fact his rebuilding of the Tangerines squad remains a work in progress.
Between Gayfield and next month’s opening league fixture against Queen of the South, there are likely to be at least two or three changes to his starting line-up.
Tonight the Tele tries to work out what the team for Friday will be and where it will be strengthened by the time the Doonhamers visit Tannadice on August 6.
For Friday, it’s hard to imagine the manager will stray too far from the line-up that looked so fit and well organised in the Forfarshire Cup demolition of Brechin last Saturday.
That top summer signing Cammy Bell with be in goal is a given. The experienced former Kilmarnock and Rangers man will add the kind of know-how that was lacking in the first line of defence this time last year.
In front, it could be the same back four that started at Glebe Park.
That would mean an inexperienced pairing of Coll Donaldson and Harry Souttar in central defence. However, both have had impressive pre-seasons and would not lack for help from either side of them in the shape of “old heads” Sean Dillon and Paul Dixon in the full-back positions.
That said, if defender Stephane Zubar has impressed enough to be offered a contract, he could be fixed up in time to make his debut.
Even if that doesn’t happen, that an experienced centre-half is added between now at the league kick off looks certain.
In front of the defence, Stewart Murdoch will anchor the midfield, probably with Charlie Telfer next to him, though Willo Flood looks certain to be the long-term partner for the ex-Ross County man.
Assuming McKinnon sticks with the 4-2-3-1 formation he’s shown a liking for in pre-season, Scott Fraser filling the central berth in the attacking-midfield trio also looks as safe a bet as you’ll get.
Blair Spittal also looks a certainty to patrol the left of that three, leaving a gap to be filled on the right.
Depending on the opposition in the league games, new boys Tope Obadeyi and Lewis Toshney could be the ones who find themselves on that side of the park.
Obadeyi will also been seen as a central striker, while, for all his versatility, Toshney is likely to be battling Dillon for the right-back slot.
After a strong finish to last term and two goals at Brechin, Simon Murray looks set to lead the attack.
Casting an eye towards league business, if the manager tinkers with his formation — something he’s never been averse to doing — Obadeyi and Murray could form a partnership up front.
Either way, they are likely to face competition from a new face because it remains clear adding a third striker is not just common sense, it’s a priority.