Paul Hartley says his team will be going into Saturday's cup clash as underdogs.

The Alloa Athletic gaffer was speaking in the run-up to their trip to Peterhead in the first round of the Ramsden Cup.

It will be the first competitive challenge for Hartley's new-look squad after a series of positive performances in pre-season friendlies.

The Blue Toon, however, are riding high after remaining unbeaten (as the Advertiser went to press) in their own run of pre-season games.

Indeed they defeated Falkirk 2-0 with new signing Rory McAllister proving a danger man. The former Brechin City striker bagged both goals and was much sought after when his contract expired last season at Glebe Park.

Hartley said, "People are saying Peterhead are favourites to win the league. They've splashed the cash in the pre-season and signed McAllister. I've had people to watch them and they are a strong dangerous team. A lot of their team have been together a while and we're a new squad. It will be a tough test but one we need. I'm looking forward to it." With the new season fast approaching, Hartley has eyes on signing another three players. He was reluctant to give any names however did say two have been trialists with the club.

Last week the Wasps manager secured the signing of ex-Rangers youth player Max Wright (19) after a closed-door friendly against Queen of the South. It followed in the wake of Michael Doyle, Mark McCullagh and Craig McDowall all putting pen to paper for the club.

Ex-Kilmarnock defender Doyle ended last season on loan to Stirling Albion, while Mark McCullagh (24) has been playing in Irish Premier League with Ballymena United and goalkeeper McDowall (20) came the youth system at Livingston.

Hartley went on, "I'm happy with the squad and the way things have gone in the pre-season. The fitness and attitude of the players has been first class. They have done everything I've asked of them. To think just five weeks ago I only had one name and now everything is coming together." In the lead up to Saturday's cup game, the Wasps will take on Hartley's old club, SPL side Aberdeen in a friendly tonight (Wednesday).

It may be a slightly changed Alloa side as the gaffer rests some players for the Peterhead clash.

He said, "There have been a couple of slight niggles and knocks and I will look after those guys this week. It's pre-season so we are not going to risk anyone."