Dec 7 2011 by Colin Paterson, Airdrie & Coatbridge
PAUL MARTIN says ambitious Albion Rovers have set their sights on winning the league.
The Coatbridge outfit are currently in sixth place in the Irn-Bru Second Division and trailing joint-leaders Cowdenbeath and Arbroath by 13 points.
But gaffer Martin is talking tough ahead of this weekend’s visit of Dumbarton with Rovers knowing a win could take them into the top four.
And the manager revealed a second successive promotion is the club’s ultimate goal, believing the squad at his disposal is good enough to challenge for the championship.
He told Advertiser Sport: “We have been absolutely terrific and it must be great to be an Albion Rovers fan just now.
“The supporters are being entertained and the workrate of the players has been excellent. If we keep playing the way we are, we will give ourselves a chance of the top four.
“But if we drop below these standards, then we won’t need to look too far over our shoulders for other teams. That’s football in the Second Division.
“I think Cowdenbeath, Arbroath and Stenhousemuir have made hay while the sun shines. But it won’t shine for them all the time and we will see how they do when they have their bad runs and injuries.
“It is still very open and I do not think the rest of the division is competing for just one promotion play-off place behind those three teams.
“We’re still talking about winning the league. We said that in the dressing-room before the Cowdenbeath game on Saturday, we said we needed to win to close the gap.
“I don’t know if everybody else is just talking about the play-offs, but we feel we can bridge the gap. We’ve won four in a row. What would happen if we won our next four?
“I recognise that other teams have an advantage due to their revenue streams and can invest a bit more financially in their strikers.
“But, in my opinion, you aren’t getting a better striker leading the line than John Gemmell and we’ve also seen Robert Love and Steven Lawless run into some form. It’s still possible to win the league. I believe my players are good enough to win the league. There are a lot of obstacles ahead but we aren’t needing snookers yet.”
Rovers made the worst possible start to life in SFL2 when they collected five points from a possible 27 in the opening nine games.
But Martin’s men have shown plenty of character and bounced back, with Saturday’s 3-3 draw at home to Cowdenbeath making it a total of 13 points from a possible 18 in the second quarter so far.
The manager added: “After we collected five points from the first quarter, we set an ambitious target of 15 for the next set of games.
“Wins in this league are very difficult to come by. You have to work for the whole 90 minutes and concentrate for the whole 90 minutes.
“But we’ve shown that we are able to do that and really should have beaten Cowdenbeath on Saturday.
“I feel the players are capable of producing more this season and I have told them that. We’re excited about the future.”