Peterhead manager Jim McInally reckons it would be his greatest achievement in management if he could lead the Blue Toon back to League One.
The Buchan outfit were relegated to League Two at the end of last season after a painful play-off defeat by Forfar.
Peterhead are currently fourth in the table. They are five points behind leaders Montrose having played a game less after their trip to face title rivals Stirling Albion was postponed due to the Forthbank pitch being covered in snow.
When the Balmoor boss was asked if taking his side straight back up was the biggest challenge he’d faced in the dug-out, he said: “There’s no doubt about it.
“Going down last year wasn’t acceptable.
“You can be with clubs who have hit bad times or whatever, but we didn’t hit that.
“We just seemed to let it go too much and I think the only defence I’ve got is that the players probably deserved another season at it.
“I should probably have dealt with the situation better and done something different.
“Obviously I know at the start of the season people are looking for you to fail because I know after a relegation not many managers get the chance to start again.
“I knew we’d need to hit the ground running and thankfully we did that. It helps when you beat Hearts (2-1 in the League Cup group stage) – that was a terrific night for the club and I think the players got a lot of confidence out of that.
“There have been two or three blips, but I think in general we still need to do better.”
And would promotion be his best achievement as a manager? He added: “I think it would be. I know we’ll have the best budget and other things.
“But I think it’s got to do with the pressure we’re under because people expect us to be the best.
“It doesn’t bother me particularly because we’ve had that before.
“But it’s just making sure that the players deal with the pressure.
“I’m pretty sure they will and if we can get ourselves back up – considering everything that has happened – it would be way up there for me personally.”
McInally has been content with Peterhead’s start to the season, having now played 12 league games, but there are aspects he hopes improve – such as their home form, having lost three league games at Balmoor.
He said: “I think we had an unusual start where we did really well in the League Cup and then we actually started really well in the league.
“But then we had our blip starting with a 3-1 defeat away to Stenhousemuir and then Stirling Albion at home 4-2.
“We lost those games and it didn’t look so good.
“But I didn’t really panic and just looked at the bigger picture.
“I thought we would improve and I still think we’ve still to improve.
“With doing so well in the cups, we’ve won five out of five cup ties at Balmoor.
“I’m just a bit disappointed that we have slipped up at home in the league.
“There have been defeats to Stirling, Berwick Rangers (2-0) and Stenny (3-2).
“That’s been disappointing because I thought in two of those games we should have at least had a draw.
“On the whole it’s been ok.
“But we need to do better as far as home results go because our away record in the league is terrific.
“We need to match it with the home form.”