Peterhead boss Jim McInally is confident his side can get the better of Cove Rangers in today’s north-east derby.
The Blue Toon and the Aberdeen outfit meet for the first time this season at Balmoor this afternoon.
Cove are stepping up to League One for the first time after back-to-back promotions from the Highland League and League Two.
McInally has admired their progress, but believes his side can get the better of them and claim their first league points of the season, despite being without five players.
Simon Ferry and Ben Armour both have hamstring problems, an ankle injury keeps Dundee loanee Josh Mulligan on the sidelines, Gary MacKenzie is out with concussion and Gary Fraser is self-isolating having been a close contact of a positive Covid-19 test.
McInally said: “Cove are just serial winners who are used to winning. We’re one of the few teams that’s beat them in the last year-and-a-half (2-1 in last season’s League Cup group stage).
“Don’t get me wrong, I know they were missing some players that day, but they’re a good team with a good manager.
“We know we’ll need to play well to beat them, but if we do play well we know we can beat them.
“We’re five players down, but we just get on with it, because in a few weeks time we’ll have those players back again.
“I’m not going to make excuses, because the team that we’ll have on the park – if they play well – will be good enough to win.”
McInally believes it’s good for football in the north-east to have Peterhead and Cove in the same division.
However, he is disappointed that no crowd will be present today, in normal times the attendance at Balmoor would have been expected to be in excess of 1,000.
Scotland’s longest-serving manager added: “I think it is good to have both of us in the same league, it’s just a pity it’s not in better circumstances.
“If this had been in normal circumstances this would have been a game that I think would have attracted quite a lot of people.
“The games are just not the same without a crowd, particularly games like this.
“It would be different if there was a wee bit of atmosphere, but we’ll just have to get on with it.
“With the amount of Cove players (Rory McAllister, Jordon Brown, Ryan Strachan, Scott Ross and Leighton McIntosh) that have been at Peterhead, I’m sure they’ll want to turn us over pretty badly and we’ll want to do the same to them.
“Neither of us play in front of particularly big crowds and players don’t expect a huge amount of atmosphere.
“But it still helps when there are people there to push you on.”