Peterhead manager Jim McInally reckons today’s opponents Cove Rangers should not have the “burden” of being League One title favourites.
The two north-east sides meet in the Premier Sports Cup at Balmoor this afternoon, with both sides chasing a first win in the competition.
Cove have been made favourites for promotion with some bookmakers, which McInally reckons may have come on the back of them adding Premiership players Ross Draper, Iain Vigurs and Kyle Gourlay.
But the Peterhead boss believes the onus should fall on the full-time teams in the division to claim the title.
McInally said: “I have been there with Morton – if you are a full-time team the burden is on you. I think the full-time teams should be above Cove when it comes to being favourites.
“Maybe it’s because they’ve done so well last year. You look at guys like Mitch Megginson, Blair Yule, Connor Scully and Fraser Fyvie, you’ve got really good players. You’re then adding two Premiership players to it.
“I totally respect them, but they shouldn’t have the burden of favourites, because there’s still Falkirk who are full-time in this league.”
Cove won both league meetings between the two sides last season, winning 2-0 at Balmoor in October and 1-0 at home in January, where Peterhead had two men sent off.
“The games last season were pretty close, apart from where we went down to nine men and just had to hang on,” added McInally.
“From our point of view, that wasn’t the worst result in the world and I don’t think Cove got much out of the game. The first game at Peterhead was pretty competitive.”
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Peterhead have brought defender Jadel Mushanu on board for the season, after international clearance came through for him to be on the bench for Tuesday’s game against Inverness.
Mushanu, who previously played for City of Liverpool FC, is still raw according to McInally, but the Blue Toon boss is hopeful he can contribute to their cause this season.
He added: “He had been training at Raith Rovers and we took him in to play in a bounce game. He scored against Inverurie Locos and played against Forfar, where he had a really good test against Steven Doris.
“He’s rough and raw, but scored another really good goal from a corner. We felt we could get an agreement that suits; he’ll train with Raith Rovers and we can develop him as best we can.
“It will benefit him more than training one or two nights a week with us.”