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What’s the secret behind Forfar Athletic’s amazing start?

| 15.09.2016

Five straight victories in Ladbrokes League 2, with 14 goals scored. Seven successive wins in all competitions. Three or more goals in five games this season. Two Championship heavyweights beaten in cup competition.

Forfar Athletic’s stats speak for themselves – but what’s the secret behind their early season success?

Resilience is a good place to start. The Loons have recovered a mammoth nine points from losing positions this season, beating Cowdenbeath, Elgin City and Annan Athletic after conceding first. There’s no question Gary Bollan has built a side full of energy and discipline.

But they’re far more than just a hard-working side. For starters, the Station Park outfit boast goalscorers across the pitch. Striker Josh Peters has netted a huge eight goals in 10 outings in all competitions, while sizeable centre-back Thomas O’Brien and tricky midfielder Lewis Milne both boast a trio of League 2 goals this term.

Both Peters and Milne arrived as part of Bollan’s summer overhaul, which saw a raft of quality additions – including former Plymouth Argyle man Stuart Malcolm – replace a squad which had struggled last season.

And when the Forfar boss spoke exclusively to Ladbrokes News earlier this week, he identified squad overhaul as the key factor in the Loons’ recent resurgence, telling us:

“We’ve had a big change in personnel and that’s been a help. We’ve got some really good players that have played at a higher level.

He added: “the club identified players early in the close season and we managed to get most of who we wanted so I’ve been really pleased. On top of that, they’ve gelled pretty well in a short space of time, which is really important.”

That gelling has been aided by an ideal blend of youth and experience in the squad, with veterans like Malcolm and Martyn Fotheringham alongside precocious teenage talents like Murray Mackintosh and Marc Scott, as well as 20-year-old Peters.

In a notoriously tight division – only six points separated top club East Fife from fifth-placed  Anna Athletic last season – Forfar are building that rarest of things, a sizeable lead.

Five points ahead of nearest challengers Clyde, the Angus outfit are now 8/5 favourites to win the title, while prolific Peters can be backed to finish as top goalscorer at 12/1.

Forfar are 4/7 favourites to continue their winning streak against Stirling Albion on Saturday, though the 13/2 for the Loons to come from behind and win looks to be the best bet in this one.

Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing



Dave Burin

Dave graduated with an MA in English Literature at Durham University, and worked in marketing before joining the Ladbrokes News team. A Man United fan and avid groundhopper, he’s also an ardent follower of Rugby League. You can usually find him at a ground near you, clutching a big cup of tea.