Peterhead co-manager Jordon Brown believes half of the clubs in League Two have genuine title aspirations this season.
Just one point separates the top five in the fourth tier of the SPFL with four teams tied on 11 points from four matches while the Blue Toon are a point behind on 10.
Brown and his co-manager Ryan Strachan are not expecting the pack of contenders to thin out significantly any time soon.
He said: “Ryan and I were chatting last night about the league.
“We’ve done our homework and we know Peterhead have won the league twice in the last 10 years and there’s always been a team slightly ahead in points.
“This year you can already see it is going to be really tight.
“We’ll have a better idea after the first quarter when the league starts to settle down but right from the start there have been four or five teams who fancy themselves to be right up there.”
Blue Toon buoyed by first home win
The win at Balmoor was the club’s first home league win of the campaign and having already won twice on the road this season, something they failed to do in the last campaign in League One, Brown is determined to build momentum.
He said: “We knew not winning at home was something hanging over us.
“We’ve righted a few wrongs already this season but we know if we want to be successful we have to be winning games at home so it was great to get over the line.
“Away from home is even tougher. East Fife and Clyde were great starts for us but we had a disappointing result at Stranraer.
“It’s going to be a tough league and if you can three points or even a point on the road it’s going to make a huge difference at the end of the season.”
Ritchie return will not be rushed
Hamish Ritchie came off the bench to score his side’s first goal last week but Brown and Strachan are determined to manage his return from a serious knee injury carefully.
Brown said: “Hamish has a wee niggle in his knee so we’ll wait and see with him.
“Obviously he is still coming back from a long term injury so we’re trying to protect him.
“Last week we pulled him out the team after the Annan game just to look after him really.
“Everyone knows how important a player he is and then he comes off the bench to stick one in the top corner and we’re telling him there’s nothing wrong with him.
“For a few days after a game he does struggle so we’re looking after him as he’s one of our most important players.”
Tough test at Dumbarton
The Blue Toon hit the road again today when they travel to Dumbarton, who were beaten 2-0 by Elgin at Borough Briggs last weekend.
Brown knows the Sons will be looking to bounce back and said: “We know how challenging it is going to be.
“If there was a team to be highlighted as the favourites for the league then it would be Dumbarton as a lot of teams have tipped them.
“It’s a venue we weren’t at last season but we’ve been there a few times in recent years.
“It’s a difficult venue and they are an experienced side.”