Stirling Albion midfielder Bryan Hodge is expecting his new side to challenge for the League Two title.

The 28-year-old believes are capable of challenging at the right end of the table and says a playoff place is the very least they should be achieving.

The midfielder reckons it will be a close-fought division but sees no reason why the Binos can’t come out on top.

Hodge told Stirling News Sport: “The expectation of the squad is to challenge for the title but at the very least we have to get into the playoffs. When you look at some of the players we have got you have to see we’ve strengthened.

“I don’t think it matters who you play in the first game of the new season because every team is starting on zero. You don’t know which teams are going to come out firing. There isn’t one team you can say are going to run away with it this year. There is not much between all the teams.

“When you go through the season, you might get unlucky with injuries and things like that but from looking at the squad I think we have to be going for the title. There will be three or four teams all saying the same thing but I don’t see any reason why we can’t challenge.”

The former Blackburn Rovers midfielder revealed he had the option of staying at Forfar, but admitted the chance to work with his old gaffer Martyn Corrigan again was too good to turn down.

He said: “I knew quite a lot of the boys from when I was at Stenhousemuir a few years ago. Martyn Corrigan was the manager there too so when I found out they wanted to sign me I jumped at the chance. I had the option of another year at Forfar but when Stirling came in I wanted to sign straight away. This is a big club for this division. I am delighted and happy to have signed.

“When I played at Partick Thistle Marty was still playing and that was the first time I met him. The big thing for me was him getting in touch. He is a guy who likes to play proper football and I knew that we would not just be lumping the ball up the park which was a big factor.”

The squad returned to pre-season training last weekend and the ex-Stenhousemuir man says they now can’t wait to get back out on the pitch.

Hodge added: “The good thing is that we only have the one friendly and then we are into proper games. Friendlies aren’t always great games and players don’t really like them but we are going to be into the thick of it straight away. That will be good for the club as well because we are playing teams like Falkirk and St Johnstone. We will need to be up for that.”