Mick Dunlop reckons Peterhead can still improve defensively as they look to finish the first quarter of the season strongly.
The Blue Toon tackle Montrose at Links Park tomorrow in their eighth League One game this term.
From their opening seven fixtures, the Buchan outfit have amassed nine points.
Defender Dunlop believes it’s been a solid start to the campaign, but having kept only two clean sheets in the division the former Stenhousemuir and Dumbarton stopper believes they can still get better.
The 36-year-old said: “There’s always room for improvement. There have been games like Raith, East Fife and Dumbarton where we could be better defensively.
“The manager is always looking at areas we can improve and the players are the same.
“But people need to understand it’s not always easy because this season there is a different onus on us.
“Last year we were going for the title and looking to win every game.
“This season we’re playing up a level and against more difficult opposition, and it takes time to adjust.
“We’ve had a decent start but we want to kick on now. In the last four games we’ve had two wins, a draw and a defeat.
“That’s not a bad run and we’ve also drawn with Falkirk. I think it’s been a decent if unspectacular start. We’ve got two games left in this quarter so we could have 15 points if we can win those games.
“Getting 15 points from the first quarter would be a good tally, but we need to win the games and get there and we expect a difficult game tomorrow at Montrose.”
Dunlop believes competition to start regularly in Peterhead’s back four will also help them tighten up.
Recent signing David Ferguson was handed his first start in last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Clyde at Balmoor.
Fellow summer recruit Scott Hooper is also back in contention to feature again after a troubling shin injury. Along with them Dunlop, Jason Brown, Paddy Boyle and Jamie Stevenson are also competing for a spot in defence.
Dunlop added: “You need competition, if you don’t have that there can be problems with injuries or suspensions.
“The more good players you have in your squad the better and the competition will stand us in good stead over the course of the season.”
Montrose have picked up one point from their opening seven matches, but Dunlop says Peterhead won’t be underestimating the Gable Endies, who finished fourth last term.
He said: “I’ve know they’ve not had a great start this season but over the last two years they’ve been excellent.
“They won League Two and then made the play-offs in League One last season.
“Stewart Petrie has done a great job with them and we’re expecting a really difficult game away from home.
“It’s very early, we’re not even finished the first quarter yet.
“Sometimes it can take time. I remember with Dumbarton when we won the league and got promotion and the following season we only won one of the first nine games and ended up finishing fith or sixth.
“It’s very early to be judging a team’s position at this stage.”
The Blue Toon will be without defender Cammy Eadie and midfielder Jack Leitch tomorrow due to respective knee and ankle injuries.