A FLOOD of bets has seen Arbroath’s odds of winning the Second Division slashed but manager Paul Sheerin insists survival will be the first task.
A string of good pre-season performances has seen the Lichties record victories over Raith Rovers and Keith in the space of just two days.
And having retained the nucleus of last season’s squad as well as making some notable additions, the price of back to back championships at one bookmakers has gone from 20/1 to 10/1 in just a month.
But the boss told HeraldSport that although it is positive to be talked about as title contenders, it is not something the Lichties will be paying too much attention to.
Mr Sheerin explained: “To be honest it is probably ridiculous to tip us as title contenders at the moment.
“What we are trying to do is build a decent squad that will hopefully stand up to the rigours of Second Division football.
“First and foremost our aim will be survival, maybe touching distance of the play-offs and then see what happens the following season.
“Of course we will be trying our utmost to be successful but you have to remember it was only two years ago that the club was relegated from this division.”
With only a week to go until the first competitive game of the new campaign, the Lichties will face local rivals Montrose tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon at Gayfield.
A so far mainly successful pre-season has been a marked difference to this time last year, when good results in warm up games were few and far between.
But Mr Sheerin believes tomorrow’s clash will be a good test ahead of the new season.
He said: “It has been like night and day compared to last season as we probably look fitter, stronger and we have had some good results.
“It is still early doors but pre-season is really all about fitness and getting games under your belt.
“Montrose tomorrow is definitely going to be competitive and I don’t think it should really be called a friendly.
“They also got a great result against Raith Rovers at the weekend so no doubt they will be really looking forward to it.
“And then its only a week to go until the first cup game then after that we will be desperate to just get into the league campaign which has seemed to come around quickly.”
The manager has already assembled a squad of 14 players with and him and assistant Stewart Petrie casting their eye over several trialists.
Mr Sheerin revealed offers have been made to three of them and its now just a case of waiting to see if they will pledge their services to Gayfield.
He added: “I’m hopeful that they will sign which will then take us up to a squad of 17.
“There could be some playing in the game tomorrow and then, hopefully, we will get things tied up before the cup game against Dundee.
“At the weekend with all due respect to Keith we knew we had to take care of them but we did well against Raith Rovers too.
“After the first 35 minutes the trialists saw the way we wanted to play football and went about things in the right way as did the signed players so up to now it has all been positive stuff.”