Steven Mackay reckons Brora Rangers are better equipped this time around to challenge for promotion.
Player-manager Mackay was in the squad that came close to winning the SPFL pyramid play-offs in 2015, only to be beaten 3-2 on aggregate by Montrose.
That squad included Grant Munro and Ross Tokely, who had significant league experience with Caley Thistle and Ross County, and current Staggies co-boss Stuart Kettlewell.
However, with a younger squad and greater depth to the Cattachs side, Mackay believes should they seal the Highland League title again, they have the quality to go up.
He said: “This squad is stronger than five years ago, if I’m being honest. We had some exceptional players, like Grant Munro, Ross Tokely and Zander Sutherland, who were phenomenal for Brora.
“But if you analyse this squad collectively and guys that we’ve got on the bench, we’re stronger and better equipped. We’ve got threats all over the park and defensively are really solid.
“We’ve only conceded 12 goals last season and 13 this season. Couple that with the ability to score goals then as a squad, we’re better-placed this time around.”
Brora are 10 points clear at the top with two games in hand, ahead of the far north derby against Wick Academy on Saturday.
Part of Mackay’s side this season has been the impressive County duo of Tom Kelly and James Wallace, who have been on development loans from the Scottish Premiership outfit.
Mackay said: “Tom and James have done really well. It’s difficult when you take a young player on loan from a higher level as you’re not sure what to expect.
“They tend to be technically very good but you’re never too sure how they’re going to react to the physicality of the Highland League and playing on bumpy pitches.
“But their attitudes have been first class. Tom has pretty much been a mainstay and while James hasn’t played as much as he maybe would have liked, he has the challenge of Jordan (MacRae) and Andrew (Macrae) in his position.
“We needed James against Fraserburgh and he made a big impact. Hopefully they’ll take the benefit and go back to Ross County as better players.”