Ryan Strachan knows the bookmakers seldom get it wrong – but the Cove Rangers central defender insists he and his team-mates are trying to ignore their favourites tag.
The Highland League champions were installed as League 2 title favourites before a ball had been kicked and they have lived up to their billing as they top the table – leading Edinburgh City by two points after 19 games.
Strachan insists the Cove players are not feeling the weight of expectation.
He said: “How the bookmakers came to the conclusion we were favourites to win the title in a league we had never played in before is beyond me but I guess they must have got it right as we’re up there.
“But we’ve never taken any notice. All we have focused on as a club is bringing players in, staying fit and trying to win as many games as we can.
“We’re doing well, winning games, the confidence is high for every match we play and it’s been like that all season.”
Cove make the trip to face an improving Stirling Albion today and Strachan knows his side must maintain the standards they have set.
He said: “Stirling Albion were bottom of the table with Brechin for most of the first quarter of the season but since the end of October they’ve started to pick up and they have been in good form for the last 10 games.
“They’ve pushed themselves up the table and they are a good side. They are always formidable at home but we’ve prepared well this week and now we are focused on producing a performance to get the win.”
Cove boss Paul Hartley, meanwhile, knows he will have to be patient as he bids to bring in new faces.
Fraser Aird, Declan Glass, Chris Antionazzi and Matty Smith have all left Balmoral Stadium this month with Josh Mulligan the only new arrival so far and Hartley is keen to strengthen his squad.
He said: “We’ve been linked with a lot of names but I’m not expecting any arrivals anytime soon. We need a couple in as we’re short on numbers and we’re looking at possible loans. We’ve got two loan spaces we can use up but it may be that we have to wait until nearer the end of the window as clubs like to get their own business done and have their squads in place before they will let players go out.”
Following a fine 5-1 win at Brechin City a week ago Hartley has called for a repeat at Forthbank.
He said: “It was a very good display at Brechin. When they got back to 1-1 we really upped our levels and it was a really good showing. It was pleasing to score a few goals too in what was a strong performance.
“It is working hard, playing well and winning which has got us into this position and it’s the same qualities we need every week. It’s not rocket science, we just have to keep it going.”