Buckie Thistle manager Graeme Stewart has called on his players to keep producing the form that’s taken them to the top of the Breedon Highland League.
The Jags face another crucial clash against a fellow title challenger when Brechin City visit Victoria Park.
Stewart said: “The players put in a lot of effort and we have got quite a tight squad at the minute.
“We’re asking the same guys to try to put on another same performance.
“We know it will be difficult and Brechin will have a gameplan to combat us. We’ve played them twice and we’ve won one each.
“It’s two evenly-matched teams and I expect the same again. Hopefully we can come out on top, because it’s the biggest game of the season.
“The next game is always the biggest game of the season when you get to this stage.
“Being top is a nice feeling, but it doesn’t mean a lot at this stage.
“We’ve given ourselves a bit of hope. You don’t want to be out of the race in February.
“We’ve given ourselves a few extra weeks to mount the challenge and hopefully we can.
“We’ve got a very difficult run-in and we can’t go out looking not to lose – we need to go out to win games.
“That’s when we’re at our best, when we go for it. I’ve never been a manager to say: ‘a draw will do us’. We need to get the win and we need to keep the momentum.
“We’ve won 13 in a row, which is a great feat, and we want to keep that going.”
Importance not lost on Hedgemen
A victory for fourth-placed Brechin would take them level on points with Buckie.
Manager Andy Kirk knows the importance of head-to-heads such as this between the title-challengers.
He added: “These games can make a huge difference come the end of the season.
“Fraserburgh were in front, but Buckie’s result on Wednesday has clawed that back a bit.
“It opens things up a bit and both teams will be desperate to get the three points from this game.
“We’ve got to keep fighting away and trying to get three points every week and see where that takes us come the end of the season.
“Part of the reason you compete in the sport is because you want to be involved in games that matter.”
News from around the Highland League
Elsewhere, third-placed Brora Rangers welcome back John Pickles for their trip to Huntly, but Josh Meekings is a doubt and Mark Nicolson is out.
Angus Grant, Bradley Manson, Stuart Taylor, Alex Thoirs, Logan Johnstone and Colin Charlesworth remain sidelined for the Black and Golds.
Inverurie Locos have the same squad which defeated Turriff United in midweek available for Nairn County’s visit to Harlaw Park.
Wick Academy face Fort William at Harmsworth Park in a 2.30pm kick off.
The Scorries are without Alan Farquhar, Danny Mackay, Andrew Hardwick, Brandon Sinclair, Ryan Campbell, Sean Campbell, Richard Macadie and Alan Mathieson.
Wayne Mackintosh and Craig Cormack are absent for Rothes’ clash with Lossiemouth at Mackessack Park. Logan Ross and Jared Kennedy miss out for the Coasters, with Baylee Campbell doubtful.
Deveronvale host Turriff in a local derby at Princess Royal Park, and Formartine United meet Strathspey Thistle at North Lodge Park. Strathspey have injury concerns over Ashley Ballam and Fraser Russell, but Ewan Neil returns.