SELDOM, if ever, since Eastern Premiership hostilities began has the downward gulf between Forfarshire and Arbroath been as stark as it is at the moment.
However, rival Tayside skippers Umair Mohammed and Marc Petrie are in total agreement that events during the season thus far will have no bearing on tomorrow’s derby showdown at Broughty Ferry.
Mohammed’s side have a flawless record, having last week completed the double over champions and chief challengers Grange – while Arbroath are starting to wriggle clear of the basement zone.
The home captain said: “When it comes to all-Angus affairs, form goes out the window and it is all about which team is better on the day. Arbroath are, and always will be, a very tough side to beat as they have many players who play for the badge, as do our guys.
“There’s also a lot of pride at stake in these games. Arbroath have plenty of match winners and with the arrival of their pro, they pose a real threat. From our perspective we will continue to do what we have been doing and play to our strengths and we will have the same line-up on duty.”
Petrie stated: “I don’t think our position means the pressure is off us in any way. In matches like these you always feel a bit of pressure. Forfarshire have been fantastic so far this season and look like favourites to win the league – but we want to focus on ourselves this weekend.
“Our performances have improved over the past couple of weeks and I still believe that when we are at our best, we’re a match for any team. It’s now time for individuals to stand up to the fight and I’m confident in any of our squad to do that.”
Arbroath welcome back highly experienced pair Calvin Burnett and ex-Shire ace Matty Parker.
Elsewhere, Grange will be expected to get back on tracks by sweeping aside the challenge of foot-of-the-table Aberdeenshire at Raeburn Place.
In the capital derbies, Heriot’s and Stew-Mel will be aiming to make ground advantage count against RHC and Carlton respectively.
Watsonians v Stoneywood-Dyce at Myreside is a tough one to call.