Durham can overcome their 48-point deduction in Division Two and achieve success in 2017, says newly appointed chairman Sir Ian Botham.
The club were relegated in 2016 and handed various points penalties, after seeking financial help from the England and Wales Cricket Board.
However they have retained key players from 2016, including Keaton Jennings, within the squad.
"We'll take that on the chin," Botham told BBC Newcastle.
"What's gone has gone, I think we're good enough to get past that [the deduction] anyway.
"I genuinely believe we can be back, if not this season, which I think we can do if we have a little bit of luck with the weather and the fixtures.
"But it certainly won't take us much longer than that."
Having cleared their financial issues as part of negotiated deals with Durham County Council and the ECB, Durham's long-term future has been secured in spite of their on-field handicaps for 2017.
Botham is confident the team can be challengers, bolstered by overseas players in Stephen Cook and Tom Latham for various stages, and senior pros Paul Collingwood, Graham Onions and Chris Rushworth also remaining at the Riverside.
"It's two wins," Botham said in the press conference. "The team are more than good enough to get those two early wins and then in Division Two they'll be the best side by a distance.
"It's down to the players. We could be playing minor counties, we're not, we're still playing first-class cricket and we have a club - a club that will prosper."
Durham's 2017 penalties
- They will start next season in Division Two with a 48-point deduction.
- Durham will also face a four-point penalty in the 2017 T20 Blast and a two-point deduction in the One-Day Cup.
- Additionally, the club will be subject to a revised salary cap from April 2017-2020, with the level determined annually by the ECB board.