Peterhead co-manager Jordon Brown has urged on-loan Dons striker Aaron Reid to take his chance with fellow forward Kieran Shanks suspended.
Shanks was shown a straight red card in last week’s win over Clyde and is unavailable when the Blue Toon host The Spartans in League Two at Balmoor Stadium on Saturday.
Reid, 19, has made only one competitive start for Peterhead since the start of his loan spell from Aberdeen – which came against Spartans in the Viaplay Cup – and has featured once from the bench in League Two.
But with Shanks suspended, Brown believes now is the perfect time for Reid to stake his claim for a regular place in the Blue Toon’s starting XI.
Brown said: “We’re disappointed Kieran is suspended, especially after scoring, but it gives Aaron a really good opportunity to hopefully be our focal point.
“He’s got tremendous ability. He’s shown that in the Highland League and with Elgin City last season, and Aberdeen have signed him up.
“We’re lucky to have got him in on loan and we wouldn’t have taken him in if we didn’t feel he could contribute.
“It’s a massive opportunity for him on Saturday, but he’s still young and there’s not too much pressure on him.
“Myself and Ryan (Strachan) are really looking forward to Aaron coming in and showing everyone what he can do.”
Home form a must for Brown as Spartans return to Balmoor
Peterhead currently sit atop of the League Two table with seven points from nine, and Brown says his side’s next target is to secure a first win at home.
Their first game of the season at Balmoor ended in a 0-0 stalemate with Stenhousemuir a fortnight ago.
Brown said: “It’s been a really good start, but what we feel is missing is a strong performance at home.
“Home form is absolutely massive if you are to have any success. We never had enough home or away wins last season, but – even in previous years – our home form hasn’t been the best.
“I think back to 10 years ago when we won this league, and even five years ago, our home form was really strong. It needs to be back to those levels.
“Once we get that result at home and get that monkey off our back then hopefully we can build on that.”
Brown admits it will be a tough contest against Spartans, who have settled into life in League Two well following promotion from the Lowland League.
The Edinburgh side have drawn two and one won of their opening three league matches.
It won’t be the first competitive meeting of the two sides, though, as Peterhead hosted Spartans in the Viaplay Cup last month – the away side winning 2-1.
The Blue Toon co-manager said: “It will be very tough. We’ve got a clearer picture of them because we have played them recently in the cup.
“We know they are a strong side and remain unbeaten as well.
“We need to really take the game to them and show how much we’ve improved over the last few weeks.”
Peterhead will be without the suspended Shanks for the clash against Spartans, while Stuart McKenzie, Robert Ward, Conor O’Keefe and Scott Ross are all doubts.