Bo’ness boss urges players to bounce back

Allan McGonigal's 'plans have been disrupted by 'illness and injury

Allan McGonigal's 'plans have been disrupted by 'illness and injury

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Bo’ness United boss Allan McGonigal admits morale is low at the club with their Super League title bid having taken a hit with two defeats on the trot in recent weeks.

But he has urged his players to get back to winning ways quickly.

The Newtown Park men visit Newtongrange Star tomorrow afternoon bidding to get their season back on track after losses to Bonnyrigg Rose and Camelon dropped them to fourth in the table.

McGonigal believes his players have yet to perform to their potential this season – something Newtongrange boss Alan Miller can relate to, with his side, quick-starters in recent seasons, having struggled so far, although they secured all three points away to top-of-the-table Penicuik Athletic last weekend.

“It’s not been the best time at Bo’ness at the moment, we’ve had a bit of a dip in form recently and we’ve had injuries and illnesses to deal with and everything else that happens at a football club, but it just all seems to be happening at the one time,” said McGonigal.

“We’ve not been playing well and I don’t think we’ve played well all season if the truth be told. We’ve been hitting and missing and we’ve just not been able to get a settled team on the park. Every week we seem to be three or four players down and we’ve just had a horrendous time of it.

“I keep telling my players that we win and lose with a bit of dignity and that’s what we have had to do. At the moment it is sore, we are all feeling it but we’ve just got to take it on the chin and get on with it.”

McGonigal revealed he and opposite number Miller have consoled each other in recent weeks with the former Linlithgow Rose team-mates having had a tough time of it in their respective dugouts.

The Bo’ness boss sees Newtongrange as an example of how his side can turn their season around, with the New Victoria Park men, currently 11th, still in with a shot at the title if they can string a few wins together.

McGonigal said: “We just have to try and get back to winning ways, although the games don’t get much easier with a game at Newtongrange, who are coming off the back of a good result. I’ve spent a lot of time talking to Alan and we’ve been consoling each other through the last few weeks.

“We just want to stop the rot now.

“Newtongrange did that not so long ago and now they are right back in it. We’ll try to do the same, that’s for sure, we just hope it’s sooner rather than later. We’re all working hard and that’s all you can do.”

Newtongrange have stuggled to field a consistent starting 11 this season with injuries and suspensions disrutping their start to the campaign. Last weekend was the first match manager Miller had a full squad to choose from, with several players having to miss out from the squad which recorded a 1-0 victory at Penicuik.

Miller insists his side have a long way to go before they can be considered title challengers, with their sole focus just on getting themselves up the table for the moment.

He said: “We just want to continually try and improve performances and put points on the board. We’re not thinking about getting back into any title challenge and we’re not even being considered in any of the betting that goes on. We’ve got a long way to go to catch up, we’ll just have to keep on playing and see where it takes us.”

Miller has a full squad available, while Bo’ness are still without Robert Sloan, Ian Nimmo, Darren Downie and Mark Cowan. Striker Darren Cummings, signed from Sauchie in the summer, hasn’t featured since September due to work commitments.

Elsewhere, Musselburgh Athletic will be looking to maintain their fine run of form, in which they have won their last five league matches, when they visit Broxburn. Joint-top Bonnyrigg visit Hill of Beath, while Linlithgow and Penicuik will both be looking to return to winning ways at home to St Andrews and Fauldhouse.