CLACH boss Iain Polworth is urging his high-flyers to raise their games to the maximum level when they take on Brora Rangers at Dudgeon Park on Saturday.
A break for the William Hill Scottish Cup ties last weekend meant Clach were idle, while Brora were edged out of the cup, losing 2-0 against League Two visitors Clyde.
The Inverness side are on a nine-game unbeaten run in the Highland League, with their last game ending with a 2-0 home victory over Inverurie Locos a fortnight ago.
Last season, Brora dished out a Boxing Day 10-1 thrashing to the Merkinchers as well as a 3-0 win against them at home. Although, the Lilywhites could not be in better form going into this one, Polworth says his players must prove they have got better when they take on a team he feels could retain the title.
He said: "Our run was interrupted by the Scottish Cup break and, although we have been in decent form, Brora are a different class to the teams we have been playing and I don’t mean any disrespect to those teams.
"Brora are probably the best team in the league, or whoever finished higher, Brora or Cove Rangers will win the league. This will be the ultimate test for us.
"Like we do in any game, we hope to limit their chances, but also try to make an impact at the other end. We were well beaten against Brora last year and we will have to be at our best again this weekend."
Nairn County, meanwhile, will return to league action on Saturday with a home match against eighth-placed Lossimouth.
Ronnie Sharp’s side, who are three places above the bottom, are on the hunt for just their fourth win of the season.
Their last game was a 2-0 loss at Turriff United on October 15, the same day in which Lossie beat Fort William 5-0. Nairn notched their first home win of the season recently with a 3-0 success against Rothes and they will be keen to add to their Station Park tally this weekend.