Having just survived by the skin of their teeth last season, Birmingham will begin their 2014-15 Championship campaign against Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Blues only remained in the second tier by virtue of a superior goal difference to Doncaster Rovers, with both clubs finishing on 44 points after Paul Caddis's dramatic 93rd-minute equaliser against Bolton Wanderers on the final day.
Manager Lee Clark will be desperate to avoid such a close call again this time around, and a victory over Boro this weekend would give his side a solid platform to build on for the season.
Clark has not had much money to play with in the transfer window, but has still managed to strengthen his squad with 10 new additions, including striker Clayton Donaldson.
Pre-season has yielded promising signs for the Midlands outfit, with five wins from their five outings banishing some of the memories of the six-match winless streak at the end of last season.
Friendlies can only tell you so much, however, and Saturday's match at the Riverside will go some way to informing us whether Birmingham are set for another relegation battle this time around.
Boro's ambitions are a little loftier than that this season, with Aitor Karanka's side eyeing a playoff charge having settled for mid-table mediocrity last term.
Despite finishing down in 12th position in 2013-14, Boro were just eight points off a place in the top six - a gap that they will be confident of closing with a full season under Karanka.
Three players have arrived from Spain in an attempt to strengthen the squad, while James Husband has also joined from Doncaster.
Possible starting lineups
Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos; Husband, Ayala, Gibson, Friend; Adomah, Leadbitter, Whitehead, Kike; Reach; Tomlin
Birmingham: Randolph; Eardley, Grounds, Packwood, Robinson; Gleeson, Lee, Reilly, Shinnie; Novak, Donaldson
Sports Mole says: 1-1