ARBROATH are set to play their first game of 2011 at Gayfield tomorrow (Saturday) with manager Paul Sheerin warning his team must work hard to maintain their league position.
A huge 4-0 win away to Berwick on Saturday has seen the Lichties move up to second in Division Three after an impressive seven-game unbeaten run.
But despite the Gayfield men having already taken six points off tomorrow’s opponents East Stirlingshire this season, the manager says the team must keep up their excellent form if they want to be challenging for top spots at the end of the season.
He told HeraldSport: “Now is the time we must strive to continue to keep up this record and winning games.
“If we go undefeated tomorrow and in our next league game that would be a quarter of the season gone without a defeat at the halfway stage.
“And the reason we have got there is through hard work and doing things in the right manner, so that is what we have to continue to do if we want to be challenging for play-offs or even the championship.”
Saturday’s game at Shielfield Park was a stark contrast to the Lichties’ last visit there in September when they were on the end of a 4-1 defeat.
And although Mr Sheerin knew his team were capable of taking three points off their fellow promotion hopefuls, he admits he was shocked that they were able to record such a big win.
He explained: “I always knew we could win but to be honest I was not expecting that scoreline and I thought the game was going to be a lot more tricky.
“That is not to say that it wasn’t tough because it was; the first half could have been either sides.
“But we had a 10-minute spell that came at the right time and the win is a big one for us because it was clear to see the improvement we have made.
“It was quite a battling performance which was pleasing for me to see, because I thought it showed another side to our game on Saturday.”
Not only did the win stretch Arbroath’s undefeated run, it also marked four clean sheets for the Lichties in their last four games.
And the boss believes the back five have been playing an integral part of their good form.
He added: “It has certainly been encouraging as we were desperate to only concede one or two in the first quarter of the season, but it is a testament to the defence and Darren Hill that we are in this position now.
“It has been tough on players such as Danny Griffin and Craig Wedderburn who we’ve brought in on loan and can’t get in the team but the others are quite solid and are doing really well.”
With the transfer window only open for just over another week, Mr Sheerin still has the opportunity to add to his squad.
But he says he doesn’t think there will be many more changes before the end of the month.
He said: “If we manage to move some players on there might be scope to bring in another player but I don’t think there will be much more movement.
“Paddy Deane has now left the club and Robbie Ross has been speaking to another club so it is likely he will move on soon.”