Leighton McIntosh has challenged Cove Rangers to adapt to their first period of adversity in League One.
Cove head to Dumbarton today looking for their first win in three games, having dropped points against Montrose, Airdrieonians and Falkirk.
The League Two champions still hold a strong position in the table, sitting in second after seven games in their first season at this level.
Confidence remains high at the club after sweeping to title success last season and winning their first four games in League One.
But McIntosh, formerly of Peterhead, Dundee and Wrexham, knows they will face challenges throughout the season as they seek to establish themselves in the division.
He said: “We started well, but the last few weeks’ results haven’t been great. You’re always going to get challenges in a season, but, performance-wise, we’ve started brightly. It seems to be the second half where things are turning for us at the moment.
“We start games so well and look really comfortable, that it forces teams to try something else and adapt. Fortunately for them it’s paid off and they’ve either got a draw or a win. It’s something we need to combat.
“Whether we do that through being more street-wise or game-management issues, then that’s what we have to do.”
Dumbarton have not won in their last four league games and are in sixth, with their last league victory coming at the start of November. The two sides have never met each other before, prior to this weekend.
McIntosh added: “This is a tough league – one of the most competitive I’ve been involved in. When we do find ourselves in a winning position, we need to learn how to capitalise or see that game out. It might be a change of mindset.
“I joined in the summer so looking from the outside, I saw how well Cove did in League Two. They breezed it really. That winning mentality was there from the start. But now we’ve had that first defeat, especially ending that run at home, it’s learning how to bounce back when maybe a lot of the boys haven’t been to used to over the years.
“We’re in a great position, considering the club has just come up from League Two. A few more positive results and we’ll definitely be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.”
The only injury concern for Cove is Mitch Megginson, who sat out the defeat to Montrose last weekend with a hamstring issue.