They start the campaign on home soil with Netherfield making the journey to the Riverside.
Garstang go into the season, looking to improve on last year’s fifth-placed finish from Mark Walling’s final year in charge.
Only six points separated them from second-placed Lancaster, having taken runners-up spot themselves in the pre-Covid season of 2019.
A run of one defeat in their final 10 league matches saw them narrowly miss out on a top-four finish, having had an up-and-down start.
Gilbert has warned that cannot happen again with the league looking an especially competitive competition this year.
He said: “It was a similar standard apart from (champions) Blackpool.
“We would win one and then lose one to start with, we just didn’t have that consistency – myself included.
“Then we woke up and, because we couldn’t go down or challenge at the top, we went on a decent run.
“We normally start quite well, other than last year, so we need to get right into it because everyone has strengthened this year.
“You look at the amount of signings that other clubs have made and that shows you the games are going to be tough.
“Netherfield is a great game for us to have because we know we can’t be off our game whatsoever.
“We have to be on it from ball one and, if we aren’t up to it, we have to make sure we’re ready for the remaining matches because there will be plenty of challenges ahead.”
Garstang haven’t exactly been shy either when it comes to reinforcing with Indian professional Punit Bisht back for a third season, while Jacob Procter (Longridge), Ryan Pearson (Morecambe) and Rizwan Patel (Preston) add further depth.
Gilbert believes that level of competition for places shows the attraction of playing in the Northern League.
He said: “That’s why we do it, it’s why you want to play at Northern League level.
“We left the Palace Shield because we wanted to play at the highest level and test ourselves – as well as enjoy it.”