Ross County manager Jim McIntyre reckons his Staggies must negotiate one of the trickiest Scottish Cup ties they could have drawn if they are to advance past Dundee United into the fifth round on Saturday.
United are second in the Championship and aiming to secure promotion back to the top flight at the first attempt following their relegation last season.
The Tannadice side knocked County out of last season’s competition with a 3-2 win at Dingwall last March and, despite their lower-league status, McIntyre says the Staggies must be at their best to defeat Ray McKinnon’s side.
McIntyre said: “We had them watched against Hibs and I watched them on Saturday. We’ve done our homework.
“They were 10 games unbeaten until recently and in very good form. Ray has signed a lot of good players and they have a strong squad.
“They put us out here last season, so we want to make sure that doesn’t happen again. We want to make sure that we go through.
“We have to take it one at a time and we have one of the toughest fixtures with United coming here.
“We always want a home fixture in any cup competition, though – it’s a bonus.”
The match will end County’s three-week winter break, having signed off on a high by breaking into the Premiership top six with a 3-2 Highland derby victory against Caley Thistle last month.
McIntyre hopes the break does not disrupt his side’s momentum, adding: “Any time you go into a break, especially the winter one which is three weeks long, it makes it so much happier if you go in on the back of a good result.
“Especially a derby one and we deserved to win the match.”
McIntyre has already been active in the January transfer window, securing St Mirren defender Jason Naismith on a pre-contract for next season.
The Staggies manager is not ruling out further additions this month and added: “It’s an ongoing process for any manager. I’m always in the market for good players and, if I think they can enhance my squad, I try to bring them in.”