Edinburgh City goalkeeper Andrew Stobie is desperate to get back up to speed after enduring a frustrating season so far.
The former East Fife and Haddington Juniors player has missed almost three months of first-team action after fracturing and dislocating his right thumb in the 1-0 victory over Stirling University at Meadowbank at the end of September.
City had to call on 45-year-old Alan Mackintosh, who has proved a worthy deputy in Stobie’s absense, with his most pivotal contribution being a first-half penalty save in the Scottish Cup second round 4-4 draw with Highland League outfit Fraserburgh before the Capital club crashed out in the replay just seven days later.
Stobie, who celebrated his 23rd birthday yesterday, made his long-awaited comeback in the 3-1 League Cup defeat at home to Spartans last Saturday.
“It’s been very frustrating,” Stobie admitted ahead of today League Cup match against Whitehill. “It was the week before the Scottish Cup game against Fraserburgh when I got injured, so it was really hard to sit that one out. We’ve also had some pretty big league matches in between that so it’s been a tough few months.
“I got myself back training fairly quickly after it happened but I couldn’t do any goalkeeping stuff. I had started the season really well but it’s just one of these things. It’s part and parcel of football and you’ve got to support the boys – we are a team after all and Edinburgh City is a really close unit so I’ve been along watching on the touchlines.”
The hailstorm that brought a temporarily halt to Stoke City’s League Cup clash with Manchester United on Wednesday evening was reminiscent of the horrendous conditions at Meadowbank six days ago as City and Spartans players struggled to adapt to gale-force winds and the downpour that persisted throughout the entire match.
Stobie said: “It was an atrocious experience. I suppose you’ve got to view it as a challenge and stay focussed. Don’t get me wrong, though, when you’re taking a goal kick and it goes out for a corner, it can be annoying. I was hoping for a nice calm day to make my comeback!
“Spartans’ first goal was a really well-worked move but we lost some poor goals after that from two corners. I came out for the third one, but I was just beaten to the ball and that was maybe down to lack of match practice. On another day we might have got a draw, but that’s why Spartans are top of the league.”
City are bottom of section B after the opening weekend’s fixtures, with tomorrow’s visitors Whitehill taking a point from their clash with Stirling University in Rosewell last Saturday. It is, therefore, imperative that the home side have something to show for their efforts come 4.45pm tomorrow. “I think it’s time we started making Meadowbank a fortress,” Stobie said. “We don’t win nearly enough games there and it’s time we changed that.
“But it’s not as easy as that when you’re playing against Whitehill. We played them in mid-September and ran them close and then three weeks later we thrashed them 5-1 so you never quite know what you’re going to get. They have got quality but we’ll be trying our utmost to get all three points.”
Elsewhere, Spartans have the opportunity to cement their position at the top of section B when they face Stirling University at Ainslie Park.
Preston Athletic, meanwhile, welcome Selkirk to the Pennypit for their section C encounter. David Bingham’s men will be looking for maximum points after their opening group defeat at Gala Fairydean Rovers.