Aberdeenshire take confidence to Falkirk in National League 2 knowing that their run of five consecutive wins has put them on the fringes of the promotion race.
Shire captain James Paterson said: “We have developed a winning culture thanks to the positive environment our coaches have created but we will be fully tested at Falkirk, who are fourth in a tightly contested promotion chase.
“A win at Sunnyside would take us to within touching distance of them and, after their defeat at Hamilton last week, they might just be feeling a little vulnerable.
Coach Alex Duncan agrees his in-form squad is well prepared for the challenge of Falkirk.
He said: “They are an aspiring club and will fancy their chances of going up but we are a healthy, happy and hungry squad and we will relish what is now our biggest test of the season. It will certainly test our resolve and not least our discipline. We must stay focused and not give away silly tries.”
Shire field their strongest side of the campaign, including a return for prop Barney Henderson and winger and vice-captain Ian Downie, who takes the place of Iain Redmond, who drops to the bench.
There is a first start of the season for lock Brad Fraser, while the back row is juggled around to accommodate Matt McCall in the number eight slot. Cameron Simpson and teenager Matthew Emmison will flank for the in-form Shire.
Much will depend on Shire’s ability to get good quality ball to their vaunted back three and to Jonty Gray, who pulverised Ardrossan Accies last week with his pace and elusive running, setting up opportunities all over the pitch.