Peterhead captain Scott Brown insists the fear of the play-offs is driving his club’s bid to stay in League One.
The League Two champions have failed to win a play-off final, whether it be to win promotion or avoid dropping down a level. And Blue Toon midfielder Brown is determined to keep his side’s fate firmly within the regulation 36 league matches in the club’s first season back in League One.
He said: “Everyone knows how hard we worked to get back to League One after being relegated in 2017. We were runners-up two seasons ago then champions last year and we don’t want to be dropping back down.
“Our play-off record is not good and that is why we have to make sure we avoid it altogether and stay up.”
Stranraer are favourites for the automatic relegation spot after finding themselves seven points adrift at the bottom of the table. But with seven points separating the four teams above them the race to avoid the play-off spot is going to be tense.
Brown said: “It’s the nature of this league this season. When you play each other four times a season and no team is dominating it becomes really congested.
“We’ve got a title race, a fight for the play-offs and a real dogfight in the bottom half of the table this season.
“Any team which manages to put a run together is going to move up the table quickly and that is what we are aiming to do.
“We’ve got two promotion challengers in the next two games followed by two huge games against Forfar and Stranraer so we have a big chance to move up the table by the end of the month.”
The Blue Toon, who are seventh in the division, travel to New Bayview tomorrow to face promotion play-off challengers East Fife.
The Fifers, managed by former Don Darren Young, occupy the final play-off spot, one point ahead of fifth-placed Montrose. But Brown is aiming to avenge the 2-1 loss when the sides last met at Balmoor in December.
He said: “The last game at Balmoor was a real sucker-punch for us and the two goals we lost were avoidable.
“We created so many chances against them and were punished for only being able to take one of them.
“It was a complete reversal of the first game between us down there where they battered us but we managed to come away with a point.
“We know what to expect from East Fife. They are a good side and they will come at us. We’ve got a tough game but we need to go there and make sure we keep it tight early on.
“The first goal is so important in this league, especially away from home, and if we can get it then we’ll give ourselves a real chance.
“We know we compete with them and we are going there confident of getting a result.”
Blue Toon striker Ben Armour could feature after returning to training this week earlier than expected.
The forward was expected to miss eight weeks due to a hamstring strain suffered against Dumbarton last month. But he trained on Tuesday and Blue Toon boss Jim McInally has added him to the squad.
Wing-back Jamie Stevenson, however, misses out due to his hamstring strain.