Cove Rangers boss John Sheran has warned his players they will need to raise their game to secure Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup glory.
The Highland League champions play Banks o’ Dee tonight in the final of the famous old tournament at Harlaw Park.
Despite starting their season with 10 straight league wins, Sheran has called on his players to hit top form to secure the silverware.
Last Saturday Cove beat Keith 2-0, but Sheran felt they could perform better.
He said: “We know we have been playing well this season so we know we can put in a top performance.
“But we’ve just got to go back up a level. I felt on Saturday against Keith we dropped down a bit from where we had been against Formartine before that.
“Now we have got to jump back up level-wise. Cup finals should bring that out in people anyway and that’s what we’re looking for.
“My view is that Banks o’ Dee are a top-five Highland League team, so we’re expecting a tough game like we would get against any of the top five in the Highland League.
“They’ve got a group of players that are good and confident.
“We’re looking forward to the game, finals are always good occasions.
“We’ll have to go out and put in a top performance to win.”
Cove haven’t lifted the Shire cup since 2010 – it’s a strange record for a club that has had so much success in recent times.
Sheran is keen to end that drought in the competition after being beaten in the last two finals.
He added: “It’s one of those things, the Aberdeenshire Cup and Shield are keenly contested because you have a lot of good teams in the competition.
“In the last few years we’ve played a lot of games away from home in the competition as well.
“But we’re not thinking about that – we’re looking forward to it now and trying to win the game.
“If you speak to the supporters they’re desperate to try to win it and the players are desperate to win it.
“Everyone connected with Cove wants to win, but the one thing we have is complete respect for Banks o’ Dee and their team.
“We know if we don’t perform at our best then we won’t win the game.
“We’re trying not really to think about the last two years.
“A game’s a game, we just want to win this one. It will motivate some people and it will have the opposite affect on others.
“But it’s a one-off game and we are only focused on getting a positive result in this game.”
For Sheran, victory tonight would break his personal duck in the competition having never won it as a manager.
However, he’s not concered by that and said: “I’m not thinking about me – it’s about the club and the supporters and trying to win a cup for them.
“The players want to win every game, I want to win every game, we’re trying to win another game and it just so happens it’s a cup final.”