Connacht begin their 10th successive European Challenge Cup campaign against Amatori Catania at the Sportsground on Saturday looking to start their Pool 5 challenge with a home win.
And Connacht coach Michael Bradley is upbeat for his third season in Europe, declaring: "We are looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead, especially with the new format of the competition.
"We have been semi-finalists in the last two tournaments and, having gained experience of competition at that level, we will be hoping to go one step further."
Connacht have not played Italian opposition in this competition since the 61-13 home victory over Roma in 2001. However, in August the visit of Rugby Parma for a challenge match provided the westerners with a taste of what is to come in a 20-13 victory.
Connacht have been one of the most consistent sides in Europe over the past three years and, with 58 matches played since 1996, no side has played more games in the competition. Connacht have played Italian opposition on four occasions and are yet to lose.
The directors of ERC voted unanimously at a Board meeting to postpone all decisions including the release of further instalments of ERC's distributable central revenues to the six shareholder countries until 19 February next when the Board will meet again to reconsider the issue.