Confident Arbroath skipper Marc Petrie expected his side to bounce back to refresh their Eastern Premiership title challenge today – at the expense of the reigning champions.
Petrie and Co square up to Carlton at Lochlands in the wake of last weekend’s defeat at Glenrothes.
And the captain insisted there are no jitters in the camp as he returns to lead the Lichties into battle with the campaign reaching its half-way point.
Petrie said: “Our performance at Gilvenbank was very disappointing.
“I know we were missing a few main players, but I thought we still had enough talent to come away with the result we wanted.
“We were just not playing to our usual standards, however now we are keen to move on and get back to normal.”
Petrie added: “Carlton will make things very tough for us and we are aware of the capabilities of guys such as Fraser Watts and Ali Evans.
“We must believe in ourselves and remember that in the past we have usually recovered quickly from any setback.”
Arbroath are still without Ross McLean and both the Burnett brothers, while Greig Peal will have a late fitness test.
Along with Petrie, spinner Craig Ramsay returns.
Glenrothes, meanwhile, will aim to keep up the momentum when they take on leaders Grange, who also lost their 100 per cent record with their tension-packed tie against Aberdeenshire.
Forfarshire ought to continue their revival by getting the better of SMRH at Inverleith.
And basement boys Falkland will be hard pressed to make an impression on Watsonians at Scroggie Park.
Aberdeenshire will be fancied to make home advantage count when Heriot’s head north.
SECOND faces top as Uddingston host Ferguslie in a fitting finale to the first half of the season this afternoon.
The pair, with just one defeat each, have found the consistency which has eluded so many but only one will earn the right to look down on the rest this evening.
Ferguslie, top for the last three weeks, have not looked back since the opening day of the season when they came a cropper at newly promoted Poloc.
Interestingly it was also the Shawholm team who proved too good for Uddingston seven days later but there have been no further slip-ups from the top two.
Uddinsgton skipper Bryan Clarke declared: “We’ve been looking forward to this one all week.
“It’s great to be up there but we’ve got a long way to go and a good bit to prove to ourselves – we know we need to improve.
“What’s pleasing is we are finding a way and being that little bit tougher than we’ve been for a couple of years.
“The game has a bit on it but this is the most competitive Western Union I’ve played in and I wouldn’t write anyone off at this stage – if results elsewhere don’t go to form it opens up again.”
Jamey Carruthers, Clarke’s counterpart in the opposing camp, played down the importance of the match, saying: “It looks a big game on paper but we are treating it like any other match.
“If you don’t play well against any team in the division I feel you will struggle. We will be happy to remain in the hunt going into the second half of the season.”
Adil Raza returns to the Uddingston side while veteran all-rounder Paul Hoffmann will undergo a late fitness test.
Ferguslie welcome back the consistent Gregor Preston-Jones to bolster their top order though Jamie Cook misses out through injury and is replaced by Martin McAllister.
Elsewhere, third top Ayr can consolidate their place in the top three if they get the better of rock-bottom Kelburne at Cambusdoon.
The Alloway men have compiled an impressive three-game winning sequence during which skipper Andi McElnea has moved to the top of the league’s wicket-taking chart with nine victims in the last two matches.
McElnea, who welcomes newly-wed Callum Leck back to the squad, said: “We have been playing well although we haven’t quite produced the complete performance.
“But we are confident going into the weekend. The league is wide open.”
In contrast to the wicket-taking McElnea, Kelburne have struggled to bowl teams out and consequently are still looking for their first win though they will take confidence from a midweek McCulloch Cup victory over Greenock.
Poloc, the latest side to inflict defeat on the Paisley side, could re-join the fringes of the title race if they can win their mid-table battle with Dumfries at Shawholm.
The south-siders once again back their youngsters, U16 star Amaan Ramzan replacing U17 spinner Ahmed-Raza Hanif.
Prestwick, impressive winners at Clydesdale a week ago, have home advantage as they attempt to stay in touch with the leaders at the expense of an East Kilbride side who have registered just one win.
Champions Clydesdale welcome back skipper Con de Lange and all-rounder Richie Berrington from international duty as they entertain a Greenock side bolstered by the return of Chris Hempsey and Shailesh Prabhu.