Sean Martin has netted an impressive 14 goals this season for Preston Athletic, making him one of the most prolific strikers in the Lowland League this term.
However, the East Lothian side have been let down by a host of defensive lapses that have left them languishing in the bottom half of the table and out of the running for league honours this year.
Instead, Preston can at least allow themselves to the possibility of claiming silverware through other avenues.
With no league fixtures having been contested since the end of November, the battle to qualify for the semi-finals of the League Cup is hotting up and Martin admits this is one competition he and his team-mates have their eye on.
The 25 year-old said: “We’d love to win it, but we can’t focus on that just now. We need to firstly get the games on and then try and finish top and get out of the group. I know everyone keeps saying it but you just have to look at the results in the league this season to see every team is capable of winning games and taking points off one another. It’s all about our performances and making sure we get the points first and foremost.”
Tomorrow’s match at home to Gala Fairydean Rovers is only Preston’s second fixture in Group A, with their previous three matches over the festive break having fallen foul of the weather.
Gala have already conquered Preston in this season’s competition, with Martin scoring the Prestonpans side’s only goal as they lost 3-1 at Netherdale in the group’s opening fixture last month.
Frustrated at having no competitive football to play in the last three weeks, Martin believes the return tie against Gala is the perfect opportunity to get their first three points on the board.
“It’s been frustrating because we’ve been training during the week and then Saturday comes and you’re ready to play but it’s cancelled at the last minute,” Martin explained. “Hopefully, though, Pennypit will be fine tomorrow and be given the go ahead. It was a poor performance from us the last time we played them but Gala played well.
“At home, though, I fancy us against any side so hopefully we can get the three points. They are physically strong but on the big pitch there will be chances for me to get in behind them.”
Preston were on the end of a 5-2 reversal at the hands of East of Scotland Premier side Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale in a friendly on Tuesday night, but Martin is confident they can mark their first competitive game of 2014 with a victory.
Martin said: “To be honest, we only had 12 players and we played three halves of 30 minutes with rolling subs on Tuesday.
“We had one bad half, the first one, and then we won the two remaining ones, beating them 2-0, so we recovered well and I managed to score one as well. [Manager] David Bingham just said to us after that we need to start tomorrow where we left off on Tuesday.”
Martin’s strike partner, Gary McCormack, scorer of his side’s second goal at Hampden against Queen’s Park in this season’s Scottish Cup, is one player who won’t be taking to the field tomorrow after being forced to take an indefinite break from the game due to work commitments.
Preston are also without Michael Osborne, who is suspended after he was dismissed the last time the sides met at Netherdale, while midfielders Ryan Moore and Ryan Strachan will also miss the tie through injury.