ARBROATH manager Paul Sheerin has resigned himself to the fact his side will be in the end of season play-offs rather than gain automatic promotion to the First Division.
A defeat at the hands of Forfar Athletic at Gayfield on Saturday means the Lichties have to get a perfect set of results in the last three games and hope that leaders Cowdenbeath suffer a major collapse.
However, the boss says that scenario is too unlikely and now they have to focus on going into the play-offs with some momentum.
He told HeraldSport: “The league is all done now. There is no way Cowdenbeath will lose that many games.
“We will keep going but we will not be kidding ourselves we will finish top.
“So now we have to concentrate on the play-offs as we are now guaranteed second place which is a real achievement given we only just came up from Division Three last year.
“We need some momentum as that certainly helps and confidence will be high.
“We have a group of players capable of doing well in the play-offs but we know it will be a long process with the possibility of four extra games.”
Despite his wealth of playing experience, the boss has never been involved in a play-off situation before.
However, he knows how crucial it is to be prepared for these encounters.
He said: “The play-offs will be a new experience for me but we will be making sure we are well up for them.
“We will be having a look at the teams near the bottom of the First Division in case we progress to meet them and I would hope that tiredness won’t be an issue.”
However, before any play-off games begin, the Lichties still have three league matches to focus on before the end of the campaign.
And even though it looks like their end of season fate has already been sealed Mr Sheerin is calling for his side to go all out to win them.
He added: “We need to keep winning and pushing Cowdenbeath because we want to make them earn the league rather than rely on us.
“Obviously we have to get the momentum going as we let ourselves down against Forfar on Saturday.
“But we have to get over the loss to Forfar and start to look at the positives.”
And the Lichties hope a trip to Albion Rovers (tomorrow) will help them to finish the season with a flourish.
But, like Forfar, the Coatbridge men, too, will be pulling out all of the stops for three points in their battle against relegation.
The boss explained: “It is always tough when we go there and we have had a couple of hard games against them recently.
“The pitch doesn’t allow for great football and again they are fighting for their lives but we will be doing our utmost for three points.”
Keith Gibson comes back into contention after suspension and Collin Samuel may return from injury, although Jordan Elfverson is definitely out.
The boss also took the opportunity on Tuesday evening to give several senior players a run out alongside some under-19s in a bounce game against Hibernian.
Unfortunately the Lichties succumbed to a 2-0 defeat against their SPL opponents but Mr Sheerin was pleased they took the opportunity to play the game.
He said: “The bounce game was a good exercise and helped develop some of the younger players’ experience.”