Paul Hartley has called on his Cove Rangers side to make the most of home advantage in their SPFL Trust Trophy campaign.
Cove have been handed home advantage all the way through the competition, with potential ties at the Balmoral Stadium in the last eight and semi-finals if they advance that far.
They take on Albion Rovers on Saturday in Aberdeen, with the chance to reach the quarter-finals and face either Alloa Athletic or Rangers B.
Home ties in cup competitions have been rare for Cove over the last couple of years, outwith the League Cup. Their two Scottish Cup ties last season were away, against Alloa and Rangers, while in 2019 they were on the road to Auchinleck Talbot and Connah’s Quay Nomads in the Scottish Cup and Challenge Cup respectively.
They were victorious on penalties in the last round against Stenhousemuir and Hartley wants his side to make the most of their strong home record.
He said: “We’re at home all the way and when you’re in the cup, you’re in it to try and win it.
“The key thing is to progress. It’s all about getting through. It’s nice to get a home tie in the cup and obviously there’s the Scottish Cup next month as well.
“Saturday is an important game for us. We’ve been good at home and we need to keep that going. We know what’s in front of us and we don’t take anything for granted.
“We’ll respect them. We’ve had them watched and watched a lot of footage of them this week. They’ve got nothing to lose and we found out in the last round against Stenhousemuir, if you’re not on your game you can get beat.
“The message to the players is to make sure your attitude is spot on on Saturday.
“There’s still more to come from them. I don’t think we’ve hit top form but we’re getting results. The last few weeks we’ve had a full squad training which helps.”
The winner of that potential last-eight fixture would be in line to face one of Queen of the South, Partick Thistle, Montrose or Morton in the semi-finals.
Hartley plans to make changes to his side for today’s game, giving minutes to players who have not featured much of late.
One who should be involved is forward Ola Adeyemo, who is yet to feature after joining Cove last month.
Adeyemo has relocated to Aberdeen and has been doing additional work with Hartley through the week to get himself up to speed, after a year without playing a competitive game.
The Cove boss added: “We’ve been trying to get him up to speed with the Scottish game. I know he’s played here before but the plan is to get him game-time on Saturday.
“He’s been in with me a couple of times a week to get his match-fitness up. He’s a good lad and works hard – he’s done extra with Tam (Ritchie, fitness coach) on training nights as well.
“Sometimes you don’t get the opportunity to change things and give players minutes but I think whatever team we play on Saturday, we’ll have a good team on the pitch.
“There’s one or two I’m looking at potentially resting altogether. I’ll make a decision on that by the weekend.”
Finlay Robertson will miss out for Cove as he is cup-tied, having already played for Dundee B in this competition. Defender Jevan Anderson is also not ready to return yet from an ankle problem.