Blair Yule reckons Cove Rangers are capable of bridging the fitness gap with the full-time clubs in League One.
Cove have shown they are able to stick with teams like Partick Thistle, Dundee, Falkirk and Hibernian so far this campaign, with Airdrieonians – who operate a hybrid model – lying in wait on Saturday.
A lot of credit goes to experienced fitness coach Tam Ritchie, who has worked extensively with the players since arriving last year.
But Cove Rangers’ Yule says the onus has also been on the players to look after themselves off the park to make sure they are not at a disadvantage on a Saturday.
He said: “I’m not sure there’s too much difference. As a team we’ve built a good relationship with each other; we always know there’s going to be a recovery, if someone’s out of position. We’re pretty well organised.
“The full-time teams probably work a bit more tactically, how they move teams around and find spaces. I’m not sure there’s that much difference when you get to this level.
“As a team, fitness-wise, we’re up there as well. Once you get to a certain level, players know you’ve got to do a little bit more. You’ve got to take care of your body.
“The squad we’ve got at Cove is so professional, they know they have to make sacrifices if they want to compete at the top end of any league, let alone League One.
“Personally, I just keep it to the training nights and games but a lot of players will look after their diets and recovery is a big thing.
“The fitness coach speaks about that often, to make sure we’re not feeling fatigued during the week.
“Tam has been great since the management team came in. I think our fitness level has definitely improved and a lot of the boys can say, at the end of the game, they feel strong and that there’s still a bit more (in the tank).
“That’s credit to what Tam has brought in.”
Cove are second in the table heading into tomorrow’s game, with four wins from five so far in League One.
Teams this season have largely changed their approach in facing Cove, with the majority of sides coming to the Balmoral Stadium last season and sitting in deep.
Yule, who has been Cove Rangers’ utility man at both right-back and central midfield under Paul Hartley, added: “It’s what a step up in league brings – an extra bit of quality and probably extra confidence on the ball.
“These teams are happy to take the ball at the back and pick us off if they get a chance.
“We’re a team that likes to press high for most of the game and make it difficult for teams to play that way.”