Chances weren’t all that Edinburgh City missed during last week’s 2-0 reverse against Cowdenbeath at Central Park, with the defensive presence of Joe Mbu unavailable to Gary Jardine’s men due to suspension.
The former Blue Brazil man returns from a two-game ban in time for Berwick Rangers’ visit to Meadowbank tomorrow. Having been forced to miss trips to Elgin and Fife on the last two weekends thanks to a straight red card shown in the immediate aftermath of City’s opening day loss to Forfar, Mbu is keen to play, and insists there will be no more avoidable dismissals. “I’m 100 per cent looking forward to being involved again and helping the boys out as best I can,” he said. “If selected, I’ll be on the pitch to do my part with no more silly sending offs.
“It was just a lack of discipline from myself. I don’t think I did anything overly wrong, but I pushed the man [Forfar’s David Cox] and the ref has seen that as being violent so he gave me a red card. We didn’t have any video evidence to say otherwise so there was nothing the club could do at the time. I would like to see a replay again. Did I strike someone or have my hands round someone’s throat? But the ref’s said that’s how he’s seen it despite that fact I was pushing someone off. I can’t really complain, I shouldn’t have put myself in that situation.”
Last week’s game was one Mbu would have circled when the fixtures were announced. He spent five years at Central Park, winning three promotions, two of which were back-to-back with Cowden, as well as a Second Division Championship medal in 2012. He’ll have another chance to return later in the season, but to have missed last Saturday’s return still rankles. “I had contact from quite a few of the Cowdenbeath supporters from over the years saying that it was a shame I was missing the game,” he revealed. “I was gutted to miss it myself. I thought the players played really well, it was just unfortunate that silly mistakes cost us again.
“The boys created quite a few chances so it’s disappointing not to have taken them. If we had scored first, I think we would have gone on to win the game. Not taking those chances resulted in us not taking anything. It’s about getting back on the training field and doing the best you can to cut out those silly mistakes so you can get the there points the next time you get the opportunity.”
That opportunity comes in the form of John Coughlin’s Berwick Rangers. Fixtures against the two demoted League One sides and an Elgin team that went close to promotion have lead to some suggestions that tomorrow’s game is closer to a ‘proper’ League Two fixture for City. It’s not something Mbu agrees with. “We don’t look at anybody in that manner,” he insisted. “We’re just facing teams in our league – we don’t look at what league they’ve come from. They’re in our league now and that’s how we treat them – a chance to get three points. Unfortunately so far, we’ve not done that yet.”
One source of inspiration and possible blueprint for a first SPFL win could come from Edinburgh and former Lowland League rivals Spartans. Dougie Samuel’s men went to Shielfield Park and dumped Berwick out of the Irn-Bru cup with a thoroughly impressive 3-0 win. “It’ll be hard, but hat’s definitely what we’ll be looking to replicate,” said Mbu. “You can take inspiration, but like I’ve said since the very first game I played for Edinburgh City, I was surprised at the level the boys were playing at against Championship teams and it resonated with me. That’s why I’ve stayed at the club, maybe a lot longer than I expected. I’ve enjoyed it, and I think the boys are more than capable of holding their own in this league – they just need to start believing it.”
While a victory anywhere would be welcome for the 34-year-old, a maiden three points in front of City’s supporters would be nice. “It’s a small but loyal support we have, and they’ve been there all the way through,” he acknowledged. “We’d be delighted to pick up three points in front of them and that’s hopefully what we’re going to do.”