Arbroath promotion would be a “major coup” insists Ian Campbell as Omar Kader admits the players aren’t surprised by their play-off ambitions this season

Saturday saw Arbroath remain in 3rd position in Ladbrokes League One, having moved within 11 points of second placed Ayr, while also having two matches in hand. The prospect of back-to-back promotions for the Angus club would be a “major coup” insisted assistant manager Ian Campbell post-match, while Omar Kader told the press that the squad at Gayfield aren’t surprised by their lofty ambitions this term.

Talking to the congregated media after the weekend win over Albion Rovers, Campbell said:

“It was quite an interesting game; I think that, a lot of the time, defences don’t get enough credit, but, I thought organisationally today, we were super. I can’t remember them having a chance, but, they are a good side. They are a passing side, and on a pitch like ours, they can cause trouble as they’ve got a few experienced players who can cause bother.

It was a great finish by Omar [Kader], but, then, five minutes later, he missed one and I’ve just had to give him a handkerchief for his nose bleed!” quips the 64-year-old. “Having said that, he scored a great goal which was just one of four or five chances we had in the first-half. In the second-half, I thought we were well on-top, without creating a lot of chances. And then, at the end there, it was just a walk-in, but, we missed and that was a guilt-edge chance. It was a hard game: I know it is a home game and the purists might be looking for more goals or whatever but they are a good side. A lot of the things we are working on in training are beginning to fall into place, so, all-in-all, it is a great 3 points for us.”

Campbell confirms the promotion play-offs is the club’s “target” this campaign.

“We still have a lot of guys to come back, but, we are still where we want to be; that is us 3rd now and there are 15 games to go – we have a few midweek games coming up soon so we will need to use the full pool of players, I think we will need to use the full compliment. The club and the team is developing, so, we are getting there slowly. As we always say, there is no point being involved in football if you don’t want to achieve, and, that [promotion] is certainly one of our goals. It would be a major coup for us, as we genuinely are just happy where we are just now. We are getting better as a team; we have a few boys who we brought in during the [Januuary transfer] window who still need to settle in, but, we have a great team. Upwards and onwards now, as we look towards Stranraer who we will face next week, now.”

Winning goalscorer from Saturday, Omar Kader, was also in agreement that back-to-back promotions wouldn’t necessarily be a surprise to the group of players which have been comprised at Gayfield this season.

“If you look around the changing room at the players the gaffer has brought in, there are guys in there who have played at Championship level or higher, so, there are expectations in there. We are getting some wins in a row and climbing up [the table]: the guys are doing really well, but, we aren’t getting carried away. The gaffer [Dick Campbell], Pink [Ian Campbell – assistant manager] and John [Young – first-team coach], as well as all the boys who have been brought in, are ambitious and want to do well on the back of last year, with the club doing so well on and off the park. We just want to keep that going.

I think League One is a challenge; I have tried a few times in this league, but, it is difficult with the full-time teams in the division. However, I think we have shown that we can compete with them: it is all about consistency throughout the season, so, we will just keep going and see what happens. I know Dodsy [Darren Dods – Brechin manager] well and it is a challenge going up [to the Championship]. Even just being a part-time team these days, it is a challenge, but, League One is just as tough – it isn’t as easy as just turning up and winning.”

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