League 2 leaders Forfar face the toughest test of their near season-long stay at the summit when Angus neighbours Arbroath pitch up this afternoon.
An 11-point lead over the Gayfield men has been whittled down to a solitary point and defeat would send former Loons boss Dick Campbell and his visitors to the summit however Forfar manager Gary Bollan is remaining calm.
A seven-game winless run ended last weekend with a comprehensive 3-0 success over an in-form Stirling Albion side with Bollan saying: “It was a good win and we showed the form that we were showing earlier in the season.
“It ended up being quite a comfortable win and it was good to get the monkey off our backs of not having won in a while.
“We had actually played well in most of the games that we were not winning but it was good to get over the line with a clean sheet to boot. Grant Adam was strong in goal and that set the tone for the rest of the team.”
Despite the high stakes Bollan said: “This game does not have any added incentive to win it as it is worth the same number of points as the Stirling one last weekend and the Montrose next weekend.
“Nothing will be decided in it as they are still four games to go and I am sure that Arbroath will be saying the same.
“We will treat it as any other game and whilst there is pressure attached to it there was always going to be as it is a derby game.
“We will try and win the three points by playing as well as we did last weekend. We rolled our sleeves up and got stuck into that game. We will need the same hunger and desire to win this one.”
The Station Park side have no injuries to contend with and Jamie Bain returns to Bollan’s squad after a ban however Thomas O’Brien and David Cox are suspended.
Meanwhile, Campbell echoed the sentiments of his Forfar counterpart that while recognising the importance of the game, it will not settle who is ultimately destined to become League 2 champions.
The Red Lichties bounced back from a setback at home to Montrose a fortnight ago by travelling to Annan last week and securing a notable 5-2 victory.
Now, Campbell is looking for his players to build on that win in this afternoon’s crunch derby.
He said: “I have almost a full squad to choose from.
“Josh Skelly has suffered a setback and will be missing but Martin Scott is in my thoughts for a start.
“We will go there in confident frame of mind after last week.
“There are not many teams who go to Annan and score five.
“It was also good to see Steven Doris getting his hat-trick. I had been giving him a bit of stick before that but we all know his qualities.
“However, we now turn our attention to what will be a tough test at Forfar.
“I will not be drawn into making conclusions no matter what the result is but both sides will undoubtedly be looking to send out a clear message at this stage of the season.
“However, while there is a lot at stake in what is sure to be a hard-fought derby it is also important that our players keep cool heads.
“There will be a big crowd and hopefully our fans will turn out in force.”