WITH ONLY four points separating the top three teams in Division Three, Arbroath manager Paul Sheerin is predicting the title race could go right down to the wire.
Another win on Wednesday night against Elgin City at Gayfield means the Lichties have maintained their lead at the top of the table.
But with second placed Stranraer only one point behind and Albion Rovers in third four points behind, the league remains tight.
And Mr Sheerin is predicting this will be the case until the end of the season and several other teams could be poised to join the mix.
He told HeraldSport: “There is no doubt that the title and play-off places are going to go all the way to the wire.
“All the teams are challenging and then you have got Queen’s Park and Elgin who have been doing well lately.
“Even though we are top there is still a lot to play for and a long way to go in the season yet.”
Tomorrow (Saturday), the Lichties make the trip north to play Elgin for the second time in three days.
The Borough Briggs men were on the receiving end of 2-0 defeat on Wednesday with goals from the manager and Gavin Swankie.
Mr Sheerin believes Elgin will be out to make amends for their loss at Gayfield but is confident enough of a good result if they prepare as they should.
He explained: “It is sometimes hard playing the same team in the same week but it is just how the things work out sometimes and you can’t legislate for that.
“But I would much rather prefer to be travelling all the way up there on a Saturday rather than midweek.
“We just have to approach the game in the same manner as it is going to be a long journey tomorrow but we should be confident.”
Arbroath will be without Alan Rattray for the trip as he is still sidelined with injury but other defenders Stuart Malcolm and Craig Wedderburn can return from suspension.
The boss can also call on new signings Adam Strachan and Allan McManus who featured in the game on Wednesday night.
Strachan had previously played as a trialist in the win against Albion Rovers at Gayfield and had attracted interest from other clubs but signed on the dotted line this week.
Ex Hearts and St Johnstone defender McManus was drafted in on an emergency one-month loan to provide cover at the back.
And with the new signings boosting the squad, the manager is hoping it will help sustain the confidence in the team which has helped them reach the top of the table.
He added: “You have to be confident if you want to be challenging for the top because if you are not then you have problems.
“We are now on a run where we have only had one defeat in the past 13 games so you have to be pleased.
“I think we have looked a bit laboured in our performances over the past couple of weeks and on Wednesday we started to get back to our best.
“And that is what we need to do as Stranraer got a good result on Wednesday against East Stirling so we have to make sure we keep up our run.”