Crewe boss Dario Gradi is expecting a stern test when his side host Barnet at Gresty Road this weekend.
Both sides have made disappointing starts to the campaign and lie just above the npower League Two relegation zone.
Yet Gradi feels the division is wide open and believes many sides are capable of beating each other during the course of the campaign.
He said: "I was saying it a lot last season that I thought any team in this league can beat any team and I will be saying it again this time around because it is a hard league and getting harder.
"There are a lot of clubs in this league who are having to cope with big expectations. It is the hardest that I have ever known it and it is a league now of a high standard.
"Anybody who thinks they are going to get an easy ride in any games this season, are going to be in for a shock."