MONARO Panthers midfielder Tyson Cottam says the club is in a "better place" than this time last season and is poised to improve upon its lacklustre 2012 performance.
Speaking in the lead up to Sunday's Mayor Cup derby against Queanbeyan City FC, Cottam said this year's new-look outfit was ready to step up after the Panthers managed just one win Premier League win in 2012.
"Definitely I'd say we're in a better place than where we were last year," he said. "There's a few new faces around the club, it's a better team and I think we'll do a lot better.
"There's a new feel around the place."
Monaro's first challenge will be to regain the Mayor's Cup after last year's surprise 1-0 upset at the hands of their State League rivals.
The two clubs have so far split the honours in the reborn Mayor's Cup contest one apiece and the Panthers will no doubt be out to reassert their dominance as Queanbeyan's Premier League representatives.
"This will be our first proper hit out for the year so it'd be a good confidence boost for us if we can win the Cup back," Cottam said.
Monaro will also welcome back striker Paul Ivanic for the match with the star striker having re-joined the Panthers following a brief stint at Canberra FC at the end of last year.
Queanbeyan City meanwhile, will also be fielding a new-look side for the clash with the departure of long-time captain Danny Byrne. It will also be the first major test for new coach Jeremy Butler.
The lead up to Sunday's main game will see the Monaro Panthers women's side take on the ACT Academy of Sport for the Mayoress' trophy from 1pm.
That match will be followed by the Mayor's Shield between the Monaro Panthers and Queanbeyan City Masters at 3pm.