'It's a big year for us', said Graeme Welch at the weekend, perhaps stating the obvious for some, but laying down the gauntlet to the players to perform this summer.
The cynics among the Derbyshire support (surely not?) will cite it being a marketing ploy ahead of the cut off for discounted membership. Of course it was, but it was also a statement of fact and I would like to think, intention.
I remain confident that progress is being made at the club. Opponents will suggest that we took a step back last year, at least in results, yet that was always a likely consequence of a summer in which youth was given its head and, through an unfortunate combination of injury and poor form, ended up with way too many senior players missing from the side at key points in the season.
In the final year of his current deal, Welch at last has the squad that he wants. OK, he would have preferred to retain Mark Footitt, but once the financial big guns came in, Mark's departure was largely inevitable. There was a brittle nature to our batting last year that recalled some of the darker days of the past, yet the portents are good ahead of 2016.
Wayne Madsen, Hamish Rutherford, Neil Broom. If one assumes that Ben Slater and Billy Godleman are a justifiably likely opening pair, the 'engine room' of the batting has a solidity and indeed class that we have not seen in many years.
All three have impressive averages in all formats of the game and our opponents will be wary of their firing this summer. Madsen's pedigree is well known, while Broom and Rutherford have excited the Derbyshire support with excellent performances for Otago this winter.
Last night saw Rutherford shine, this just three days after Broom scored a match-winning century for his side. He made 126 from just 90 balls, with 7 sixes and 10 fours, steering his side to an emphatic win over Wellington. That is always likely when you post 362-8 in 50 overs...
I have been a Derbyshire fan for closing in on fifty years now, but still get excited as the season approaches. While not going overboard with predictions at this stage, I expect, like Graeme Welch, a talented group of players to produce some exciting cricket this year.
If we can add one more seamer of experience and a proven T20 match-winner to the current squad, we have the talent to win a good share of matches and certainly to entertain.
That Welch and Matt Critchley have been in Dubai with the England set up is good for both as individuals, beyond doubt, but is also good for the county in the longer term. Working with the cream of the country's seam bowling talent is bound to have benefits for us when players near the end of contracts.
While not suggesting that we will soon be recruiting one of the bowlers currently in Dubai, these lads will return to their counties and discuss the experience with their team mates who are more peripheral figures in the county squad.
If you were a decent seam bowler, wouldn't the chance to work with a coach who comes with a personal recommendation and endorsement appeal, when your contract was coming to an end? It would to me, for sure.
Just as Andy Carter said last week that he has learned from Graeme Welch, so too will Tom Milnes. He has come in 'under the radar' to a great extent and didn't set the world on fire in his few appearances last summer. Yet that was in a young team lacking confidence at season end. His performances at Edgbaston suggested he has something and he will push our home-reared talent for a starting spot in the side.
The potential is there and the excitement slowly builds...