Peterhead manager Jim McInally has been striving for consistency out of his young squad all season – and feels he might have finally got it.
The Blue Toon have lost twice in their last nine games and have delivered some impressive results along the way, beating Alloa Athletic and Queen’s Park and sealing a place in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup.
This weekend sees basement side East Fife visit Balmoor, where Peterhead have traditionally been a strong outfit this season.
It is an important game in the context of their league position, with victory putting greater distance between them and the bottom of the division.
But they are starting to put consistent performances together, which is pleasing for the Peterhead boss.
“They’re all big games,” said McInally. “We’re still in a decent place – we look as though our confidence is decent. We could have caved in when it went 2-2 on Saturday (against Clyde), but quite the opposite. We pushed to win it.
“East Fife, for me, with what they’ve got in their ranks, I thought they’d come out of this. I still do. We need to make sure it’s not against us.
“It’s always the aim, to be strong at Balmoor. We try to make sure it’s a hard place to come to and it’s something we need to keep at.
“We’ve got a wee bit of consistency at the minute. We’ve lost two games in the last nine; with a younger squad you don’t tend to get that consistency, it tends to be a bit of a rollercoaster.
“But at the minute we’ve got a bit of that in our performance levels. When we play well, we’re a handful.”
There will be decisions made in the coming weeks regarding a number of Peterhead’s loan players.
The soonest may well be Ryan Duncan at Aberdeen, with a call on whether he returns to Pittodrie in January or stays with the Blue Toon expected to be made in the next couple of days.
Duncan has not featured for Peterhead in a competitive fixture due to injury, but has impressed in the bounce games he has played.
Josh Mulligan is another who could be recalled by his parent club Dundee in January. Mulligan has been a standout figure during his time under McInally, but the Dark Blues may well see a role for him in their first-team in the second half of the campaign.
“No matter where you put Josh on the right-hand side, he’s going to be effective,” added McInally. “As long as you get the ball out to him, you know what he’s going to do.
“He’s going to run at you, which for opposing teams isn’t good. On Saturday, he went by two or three of them at a time.
“He needs to improve his end product as he had umpteen chances to make us or score us a goal and he didn’t do it. He thought himself he should have scored three.”
Peterhead will be without Derek Lyle and Gary Fraser for tomorrow’s game.