Burton Albion midfielder Lucas Akins has welcomed the influx of quality over the summer and is relishing the fight for a place in boss Nigel Clough's starting line-up.
With little over a week to go until the start of the new season, Saturday's test against Shrewsbury Town followed by Leicester City's visit to the Pirelli Stadium are the final opportunities in pre-season for Albion's players to stake a claim for a regular role in the 2017/18 campaign.
Akins is one of many players who will be feeling the heat ahead of August 5, when the Brewers open their season against Cardiff City at the Pirelli Stadium.
Clough has so far remodelled his squad, bringing in experienced defensive duo Stephen Warnock and Jake Buxton, midfielders Matty Lund, Luke Murphy - returning on loan from Leeds United - and Hope Akpan, and record-signing Liam Boyce up front.
Akins' versatility makes him a major asset to Clough, with his ability to operate as a striker, across the midfield and at wing-back meaning he will always be in contention for a starting spot.
One of the only remaining players to have seen first-hand the rise of the club from League Two to the Championship, the 28-year-old's experience and cool head is also key to a squad that will be fighting for their lives once again.
But the former Huddersfield Town man always manages to find the positive side in any situation on the pitch, and this time it is no different.
The battle for places will be fierce, with central midfielder Tom Naylor already told by Nigel Clough that his future is at centre-back due to the plethora of options available to him.
And Akins not only knows that, but relishes the chance to test himself against the Brewers new-boys and earn a starting spot.
"Of course", said Akins when asked about whether competition for places helps players step their game up and improve themselves.
"That can only help you as a player.
"You want to play as high as you can, so to be given an opportunity, first and foremost, to be in a squad. That is something I do relish.
"You just have to fight for your place in the team.
"But nothing is guaranteed in football. You could move to a club and they might tell you you're going to play every week - but that doesn't always happen.
"Wherever you are, you've got to make sure you put in the hard work and ultimately the good performances, and make sure you are contributing in the right way around the place and on the pitch to be given a shirt.
"I am no different. Like anyone else, I hope to be given a fair chance, like the new lads will be - and the whole squad will be given a chance.
"It's about making sure you are ready and available for when that chance comes - and take it."
Akins also believes that getting off to a good start is crucial - with the Brewers managing just two wins in the first two months of the season.
He also believes that the smart recruitment undertaken this summer, with only Boyce costing a fee so far, will help the side in another ultra-competitive edition of the Championship.
"Hopefully we can learn from our mistakes last season to maybe have a little bit of a better start and make sure we are stronger, because I believe we can compete in this league.
"I know people from the outside looking in might believe we're a small squad, maybe not as many resources - but I think we have worked very smart, this club.
"That has showed in who we have managed to bring in - very shrewd signings, good players as well.
"I am looking forward to it and I can't wait for the season to come around again."