Only the struggles of Brechin City and a play-off purple patch helped Alloa Athletic remain in the Ladbrokes Championship last season.
With Jim Goodwin’s side the only part-timers in the second tier this season, many had their doubts about the Wasps. But right now, they’re stinging back.
Top of the form table with nine points from five games, Alloa are pulling clear of the danger zone. And while the promotion play-offs may be a bridge too far, they’re only eight points off the top four!
We check out why it’s all going right in the Wee County.
Trouts is proving slippery for defences
There’s no doubting Alan Trouten’s pedigree as a lower-league goal-getter. The 33-year-old has hit double figures in four League One campaigns since 2012.
But few foresaw the veteran caning Championship defences in the same way.
After a slow start to the campaign, his recent form has been tremendous. Not only has the former Brechin City ace struck eight times in 10 outings. But he’s been a real talisman for Goodwin’s gritty performers.
Last weekend’s 2-2 draw at East End Park saw the Wasps come from 2-0 down to bag a point. The evergreen Trouten followed up an instinctive close-range strike with an ice-cool 92nd-minute equaliser in front of the joyous Alloa fans.
Impressive? Absolutely. But not surprising. December’s 2-2 draw at Falkirk also saw Trouts reel in a point from 2-0 down with a brace. In short, Alloa always have a chance with him in the side.
Smart additions on a shoestring budget
As the league’s only part-timers, it’s fair to say the Wasps aren’t going land Neymar (in this window, at least!). But what budget they do have has been very wisely spent under Goodwin.
The canny gaffer has used his contacts to bring top talent in on loan from Premiership sides.
Jordan Kirkpatrick is an excellent addition, as he returns to Alloa on loan from St Mirren. Meanwhile, Sam Roscoe has been a classy presence at centre-back after joining from Pittodrie.
The boss has also snapped up some fine players from the SPFL’s lower tiers. As well as Trouten, the ever-reliable Liam Dick (signed from Dumbarton) at left-back, has fittingly been Alloa’s rock.
With Goodwin having also found a 4-2-3-1 system which suits his squad, there’s every chance of Alloa going from strength to strength in 2019.
The Wasps’ next game is Saturday’s league clash with Greenock Morton at the Indodrill Stadium.
Both Alloa’s last win and Morton’s last defeat were by a 2-1 scoreline. Another 2-1 in favour of Goodwin’s men is on offer at 9/1.
Click here for the latest Ladbrokes Championship odds.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing