Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe is adamant the drama of last season hasn't left a heavy fog over the A-League club, but admits it may have set them back a touch.
Glory were stripped of their spot in last season's finals and fined $269,000 after being found guilty of rorting the salary cap.
In an added blow, key players Danny Vukovic, Scott Jamieson, Youssouf Hersi, and Jamie Maclaren left the club in the wake of the saga.
Their exit, combined with the loss of Rostyn Griffiths and Danny De Silva (AS Roma), has stripped the core out of Glory's best team from last season.
Given the calibre of players who have left the club, Lowe knows it will take plenty of hard work to cobble together another competitive squad.
"Unfortunately maybe we slip back a little bit, we have to maybe take a couple of steps back and then we'll move forward again," Lowe said.
"The boys coming in, they have a smile on their face; they're hungry; they're keen, so we are very much where we were last year.
"If we can blag it, and finish a bit higher than we finished last year, we'll have a good year."
New signings have been few and far between so far for Glory, with Young Socceroo Hagi Gligor, former Olyroos goalkeeper Jerrad Tyson, defender Alex Grant, and ex-Wanderers defender Antony Golec the newcomers.
Veteran goalkeeper Ante Covic is expected to sign with Perth on a one-year deal this month, with the club on the lookout for some attacking talent to bolster the squad.
Glory's new-look squad hit the training track for the first day of pre-season on Monday.
With new chief executive Peter Filopoulos to start his tenure in August, there's a fresh feel about the club.
"You can't lament the things that have gone on," Lowe said when asked about the club's recent salary cap woes.
"I have always said I am a forward looking person.
"Obviously you glance backwards and reflect, but you don't look in the rear view mirror, you look forward. That's what we need to do.
"There's no pressure. There's no stress. There's no foggy cloud.