Harrogate Town assistant manager John McDermott predicted promising seasons for both his current club and former side Grimsby Town, after the pair met at the CNG Stadium on Tuesday.
Grimsby won the match 2-0, but McDermott was encouraged by Town’s defiance and ability to create chances against a team in the league above.
Ryan Kendall had a goal disallowed for Town in the opening minutes, before Scott Brown and Lenell John-Lewis scored two quickfire goals for the visitors before half-time.
McDermott said: “We put in a good performance and showed that we could actually compete with that standard.
If they are close to being up there in the league above, it shows where we are.
“I’ve seen Paul (Hurst, Grimbsy’s manager) go on record and say if we were in that league with this team, we would survive.
“That bodes well.”
McDermott has legendary status at Blundell Park, after making a record 647 appearances, largely at right-back.
And the 45-year-old one club man believes his former side have a strong chance of rising back out of non league football this year, after falling at the final hurdle in the 2013/14 season.
Grimbsy lost in the Conference play-off semi-finals to Gateshead.
McDermott said: “They have set the bar for themselves. They are fully aware of what they need to do.
“They have experience of doing that now, and they have added to it.
Tuesday’s match was a special occasion for Town’s assistant, with the Mariners playing his new club for the first time since he arrived in Harrogate.
And, he said the clubs have built up a relationship which could see it being a regular fixture.
He added: “A lot of people got in touch with me before the game and I was able to get six or seven lads to come up and have a meal before the match.
“The chairman (John Fenty) text me after the game to say how fantastic the set-up was and that it was a great game. They are looking to do it next year.
“Hopefully, we will go up and so will they, so we can have another pre-season friendly with them.”