Boss Neil Cooper wants Inverurie Locos to keep up their charge for the Highland League top four against Wick Academy tomorrow.
Wick visit Harlaw Park to play a Railwaymen side looking for their third win on the spin.
Locos are currently fifth in the table and have shored up defensively in the last few months – but Cooper noted the 6-2 defeat they suffered away to Wick earlier in the season will keep them on their toes.
He said: “The boys have been doing really well and training as normal.
“Their attitude is always really good, with a high standard and tempo.
“Last Friday against Deveronvale we had a good performance and we’re looking to do the same again against Wick.
“They’re a good side, who beat us up there earlier in the season.
“They’re up and down with their results, but on their day can give anyone a run for their money.”
Cooper’s big aim for his team this term is to get into the top four behind Cove Rangers, Brora Rangers and Formartine United.
He accepts it will be difficult to close the gap on those sides and Locos’ battle will be with Fraserburgh, currently six points ahead of the Inverurie outfit with a game in hand, and the Can-Cans, who are five points behind with two games in hand.
Cooper said: “It looks like Cove and Brora are the teams going for the title, and Formartine are up there.
“The likes of Fraserburgh, Forres and ourselves are trying to get that fourth position.
“We’ve got Forres to play after Wick and still have Fraserburgh to play up there as well.
“You’ve just got to try to pick up as many points as we can to get in that top four.
“That’s our aim.”
However, they’ll meet the Scorries without Highland golden boot contender Neil Gauld, who picked up an ankle injury in the 2-0 win over Vale.
He is one of several who could miss out.
Cooper said: “Neil got a knock and his ankle’s really swollen up.
“He’ll hopefully be back next week.
“Andy Watt is struggling with his hamstring.
“We need to see if Jamie Michie has any reaction to training.
“And Jonny Smith is back training (after a knee injury).”
Still, the manager has depth in the Harlaw ranks – so much so he has had to leave players like Jordan Leyden, Daniel Crisp and Connor Rennie out of the match-day squad for recent fixtures, with the latter pair placed on the transfer list.
Meanwhile, striker Andy Hunter says he’s still finding his feet back in the Locos team, but enjoying getting minutes under his belt. Hunter played 90 minutes in the win over Vale, having recently returned from a long spell out with knee issues.
He said: “It’s good to be back.
“I’m still finding my feet, but it was good to get 90 minutes again (against Deveronvale) under my belt.
“I was playing left-back and right-back. I think I spent half the game there, which was a bit frustrating.
“But you’ve got to do it for the team.”
Complimenting his defensive team-mates’ performances, Hunter added: “We’re trying to start from the back and get a good solid base to build from.
“We’re starting to do that now and even the last couple of games we have lost have been by one or two goals.
“It’s good for the defensive boys.
“We’ll work on better flowing football.”