Peterhead boss Jim McInally has backed his young centre-backs to cope with the threat of David Goodwillie on Saturday.
The Blue Toon face Clyde at Balmoor this weekend with former Aberdeen striker Goodwillie in great form for the Bully Wee at the start of this season with five goals already this term.
He will be up against the Buchan side’s young defensive duo Jason Brown, 22, and 20-year-old Cameron Eadie.
With David McCracken becoming a player-coach and new signings Mick Dunlop and Paddy Boyle injured, Brown and Eadie have been thrust together at the heart of the Peterhead defence.
Blue Toon gaffer McInally knows they will be tested by Goodwillie, who also played for Dundee United, Blackburn and Scotland, but has backed his youngsters to cope.
He said: “They will be tested, most team’s good players are strikers or forwards.
“He will test him severely on Saturday, but both of them have played against him before so it’s nothing new, they know what’s he’s capable of.
“They know they will need to be fully concentrated the whole game and if they do that I’m sure they can stop him.
“At 22 and 20 they’ve been asked to play like men.
“Maybe I have been a bit hard on them, but I appreciate how well they’ve played.
“They’re still learning and they’ve done fantastically well.”
Former Elgin man Eadie was signed after impressing in pre-season training with Peterhead.
McInally added: “With Cameron he hadn’t had any pre-season before he came to train with us so he was catching up on fitness.
“We’ve asked a lot of him and apart from a couple of mistakes that he will learn from he has been really good.
“He has certainly justified us bringing him in.
“And once my other two defenders, Mick Dunlop and Paddy Boyle, are fit they will bring them on a lot.
“At the end of the day, Callum Home has been out for a long time and has come in and played right-back when he’s still be chasing his match fitness to a certain extent.
“They’ve been thrown in at the deep end to get on with it themselves and they’ve done brilliantly.
“David McCracken is on the sidelines to talk to them. It does help if you have somebody on the pitch next to them.”