Coventry co-promoter Colin Pratt accepts that his team has been handed a difficult start to their Elite League Championship defence.
But the long-serving Bees boss has reminded supporters that the opening weeks are not necessarily the be-all and end-all, as the Brandon outfit proved last year when they recovered from a nightmare start to clinch the title in a dramatic play-off final win over Belle Vue.
This year, Coventry will face Elite League newcomers Reading in their first pair of home and away fixtures, and then take on perennial challengers Poole before the end of March. The Wimborne Road club have been installed as the early bookmakers' favourites to regain the crown.
Pratt said: "It's definitely going to be a hard start to the season and by the end of April we should be able to see which teams are likely to be up there.
"Hopefully by that stage we'll have shown that we will be able to give everyone a run for their money, although we shouldn't forget that we lost six of our first seven matches last season and still managed to win the League.
"Reading are back in the top division under a new promotion, although they do have a proud history of tracking top riders in the past with the likes of Per Jonsson, Jan Andersson and Armando Castagna all having raced for them.
"In recent years they've been in the lower league, but John Postlethwaite and BSI have taken over and it looks like a good team on paper.
"There will be plenty of interest in Matej Zagar moving up into the Elite League for the first time, and backed by Greg Hancock and Charlie Gjedde that looks like a strong top three.
"And then after that we face Poole, the champions of 2003 and 2004, who we stopped last year from completing a hat-trick. Again they appear to be fielding a very strong team, and our matches against them will give us a very tough end to March."
Victory in Dorset at the end of August was a massive stepping stone towards Coventry successfully achieving their aspirations last year, and the Pirates fans will still have nightmares over a stunning last-lap ride by Bees' Scott Nicholls to slow down Antonio Lindback and create a gap for team-mate Joonas Kylmakorpi to pass and clinch a dramatic one-point win.
Poole have retained the bulk of last year's top order and have supplemented them with the experience of Australian team manager Craig Boyce. They also have the Davidsson brothers, former Bees loanee Daniel and Swindon asset Jonas, as reserves.
Pratt is still in talks with the sport's authorities after the date for an away fixture at Oxford was changed from the draft listings without his knowledge Bees had agreed to travel to Cowley on April 26, but the official listing shows them facing the Cheetahs on May 3 which would cost several of their riders the chance of racing in Poland, where there is a Bank Holiday fixture list on that day.