Leith Athletic boss Derek Riddel says the opportunity to open up an eight-point gap over Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale is all the incentive his players need when the division’s two heavyweights do battle at Meadowbank 3G on Saturday.
Champions Leith are five points clear of their rivals at the halfway stage, having played a game more and Riddel is eager to see that gap extended this weekend.
“You want to try and get yourself out in front. That was a big advantage to us last year as we got our noses in front and we were top from September until the end of the season,” he explained.
“You want to get as big an advantage as you can because games might start being wiped out by the weather over the next few weeks.
“These are the games we want to play in. We’re at home so we’ll be looking to go on the attack straight from the off. It’s going to be a real tough one that’s for sure as Lothian are on a great run and are unbeaten so far this season.
“But we’re also unbeaten in the league and want to keep our 100 per cent record intact. Last season, we managed to beat them four times, albeit every game was relatively close.”
Lothian manager Raymond Carr, meanwhile, is anticipating another close encounter but one his players are more than capable of winning.
“The games are always close. We know each other really well and sometimes it’s whoever gets the luck on the day,” he said.
“We know how big a game Leith is. It’s another local derby for us but the boys are playing really well at the moment so we’ve just got to keep it going.
“We’ve yet to be beaten and got another good result against Tynecastle last weekend so we’re hoping to carry on the good work we’ve been doing so far.”
Elsewhere, Stevie Vinter will hope his Tynecastle squad can return to winning ways when Ormiston visit Saughton Enclosure on Saturday. Tynie lost to Lothian 2-0 last weekend whilst Ormiston were beaten 3-1 at Leith.