Linlithgow Rose are determined to make their Super League rivals fear coming to Prestonfield.
Manager Danny Smith is eager for Lithgae to turn their home ground into a fortress in his first full season in charge, starting tomorrow against Hill of Beath.
Super League new boys Penicuik Athletic were unexpected victors in Rose’s first home match, and after bouncing back with a 5-1 win away to Lochee United last weekend, Smith has called on his side to build some early season momentum.
“It’s very important that we start to make Prestonfield a difficult place for anybody to come,” said Smith.
“It’s a big game in terms of playing in front of our own fans again [after Penicuik] and hopefully getting three points,” said Smith.
“Every team regards their home games as ones they should be winning and we want to make Prestonfield a place where nobody will enjoy coming. People maybe walk in and they see the set-up and they get a lift from that, but once the game starts, the way we are looking for our team to perform is that there won’t be a great deal of enjoyment for the opposition.”
Smith has put his stamp on the squad over the summer, bringing in Camelon pair Kevin Kelbie and Blair Batchelor whom he worked with at the club before leaving for Rose.
Kelbie was the East Region’s top goalscorer last season with 39 goals and joins an already formidable Rose frontline of Tommy Coyne, Colin Strickland and Calum Smith.
Coyne and Strickland already have seven goals between them after just three games, with the latter notching a double against Lochee, while Smith got two after coming on as a substitute.
Competition for places is certainly fierce at Prestonfield, with Smith also signing Gary Thom from East Fife and Francis Kelly from Kilsyth Rangers to his squad during the close season. He is still hopeful of recruiting some more.
“We are always looking to better our squad – if people become available that would enhance the squad, we’d be looking to sign them,” said Smith.
“It’s all about competition for places. Because of the quality we’ve got in the squad, guys know they need to perform because if they don’t, there is always going to be somebody waiting to take their chance.”
Linlithgow are favourites to lift the Super League title this season, but Smith isn’t entertaining talk of silverware just yet.
Instead, he is focused on one game at a time and stressed the importance of his team concentrating on doing their own job rather than getting distracted by other results. Smith believes it is paramount that his side build on last week’s result and produce a positive performance for the Rose support after the loss at home to Penicuik.
“We just need to concentrate on ourselves and forget everybody else round about us,” said Smith.
“We need to work as hard as we can to get the results we are looking for. I’m not looking too far ahead.
“We need to make sure we are prepared as best as we can. I’m looking for the players to put on a better home performance than what the fans saw at the Penicuik game.
“It’s important for everybody at the club that we get a result tomorrow, but that we also put on a performance. It’s early in the season but we are looking to gather a bit momentum.
“We created a number of chances last week and it was very pleasing.
“We now need to go and build on that – there is no point getting a decent result and then not building on it the next again week.”
Goalkeeper Michael McKinven will keep his place in the starting XI tomorrow, with No.1 Scott Christie sidelined with a hamstring injury, while John Ovenstone is also still out with a hamstring problem.
New signing Kelbie is pushing for a starting spot after making his debut from the bench last weekend on his return from injury.