Everton will return to competitive action at Goodison Park on Thursday, when they take on Ruzomberok in a Europa League qualification clash.
While it is not ideal to start the season in July, this game at least allows the home fans an early chance to see their new recruits in action.
An exciting summer of transfer business has so far seen big money spent on Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane and Davy Klaassen among others, while the return of Wayne Rooney has also provided a touch of star quality.
With the mood around the club as optimistic as any time in recent memory, Goodison Park is likely to be sold out for the return of competitive football.
Fortunately, the crowd should be in for an enjoyable evening as Ronald Koeman’s reinforced team take on a side that exceeded expectations to finish third in the Slovakian top flight last season.
More accustomed to mid-table in recent years, Ruza’s overperformance saw top-scorer Jakub Mares picked off by Slovan Bratislava at the end of the campaign.
Having kicked off the new league season on Sunday with a defeat against a Zlate Moravce team that finished second from bottom last time out, it seems they may struggle to sustain last year’s levels.