Paul McManus reckons Cove have the “bottle” to retain the Highland League title – and are ready to play in the Scottish leagues.
The Highland League champions travel to Turriff this evening in a game that could have a major bearing on the title race.
Forward McManus joined John Sheran’s side in January after a stint with League One club East Fife.
Since then, he has chipped in with a number of vital goals to help sustain Cove’s title challenge.
And the 34-year-old also popped up with his side’s opener in the Highland League Cup final win over Formartine this weekend.
Even though he has only been with the club for a brief spell, he believes they are capable of a double.
Cove are level on points with Brora, who have played a game more, and Buckie.
The Jags are currently in top spot on goal difference and have the fate of the title in their hands.
But McManus is confident Cove will be ready to pounce on any slip-up.
“We’ve got the final out of the way, so hopefully that can give us a wee bit of confidence going into the next game.
“Every game from now until the end of the season is going to be a hard, hard game.
“Buckie are up there challenging, Brora are still in it – everyone reckons it’s just Cove and Buckie but they are still in it because it all comes down to who has the bottle.
“I think we’ve got the bottle, we turned up on Saturday and showed what we’re about.”
McManus has played for seven different sides in the Scottish leagues over the course of his career.
He was unable to make his debut until February but has featured regularly for Sheran’s side since.
The forward is one of a number of players within the squad with SPFL experience.
And he believes the group is more than capable of competing at the next level.
“Cove could compete in the lower leagues, no problem,” he said.
“I’m not just saying that because I came through the lower leagues, I really think there are technically better players in the Highland League.
“I’m not sure why more don’t come into the lower leagues, there is a lot of travel involved of course, but they could certainly hold their own there.”
Cove were beaten in the promotion play-off by Lowland League champions Edinburgh City last season.
The capital side are now playing in League Two, something Cove wish to do themselves.
The winners of the Highland League will get a chance to play East Kilbride.
After that, the winners will play the bottom League Two side for a spot in the division.
Cove drew with Turriff in their last league game and McManus knows the side can’t afford to slip up again.
And the veteran forward expects another tight game at the Haughs tonight.
He said: “I thought we were unlucky not to beat Turriff. They didn’t have many shots on goal but they were well organised and were a good strong outfit at the back.
“We need to be a wee bit more patient, as the last time nerves played a part.
“We were trying to get that first goal to settle us down, and we know we are capable of holding on.
“We are not getting carried away, we’ve won a cup final, we will take it in good stead and look to now carry that into the league.”