Annan boss Jim Chapman has warned his side they cannot afford to become detached from the League Two summit – even at this stage of the season.
The Galabankies were knocked off top spot at the turn of the year following three successive losses and now find themselves five points adrift of leaders Elgin City.
That barren spell in the league is broken up by a fantastic 4-1 Scottish Cup win over Hamilton.
A fifth round tie at home to Morton awaits Annan next month but Chapman insists their sole focus is on keeping their promotion charge on track in what is the most competitive division in Scottish football.
Speaking ahead of today’s trip to Arbroath, Chapman said: “We were top of the league from the beginning of October right to the turn of the year.
“It’s shows we’re capable on our day and we just need to keep reminding the players of that.
“We’ve been there but what we can’t afford to do is get too far behind because it will be very difficult to peg any gap back as everybody will cut each other up and take points off each other.
“The last couple of performances have been below the standard we’ve set so we need to get back picking up points again because the last thing we want is to get detached at such a crucial stage of the season.”
Chapman, who is hopeful of adding a new signing for the trip to Gayfield, is adamant that their cup run has not been a distraction.
He added: “The cup games always take care of themselves and they’ve been a bonus.
“That should be used as an incentive for the players
“What’s happened, we’ve reached high standards but it’s keeping the consistency levels and the difficultly you have in dealing with part-time players.
“That makes it a wee bit more challenging when you have work patterns, injuries and suspensions – you know it’s going to catch up on you.”