EoS: Spartans want a Friday to remember

Gary Aitchison.  Pic: Ian Rutherford
Gary Aitchison. Pic: Ian Rutherford
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Spartans EOS manager Alex Cunningham will be hoping for more Friday night delights this evening when Craigroyston visit Ainslie Park in The Central Taxis Premier Division (kick-off 7.45pm).

Spartans ended Leith Athletic’s ten-match unbeaten run on a cold Friday evening at the end of November in an enthralling 5-3 victory, but due to postponements have only managed to play two competitive fixtures since that game – a 2-1 victory over Tynecastle in the first round of the League Cup, and a 4-1 home defeat by Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale just before the Christmas break.

Spartans know that with only two home league wins on their patch this season, it is imperative they start to turn Ainslie Park into something like a 
fortress again.

“We have had far too many draws this season,” admits Cunningham. “The beauty of this league is that anyone can beat anyone as we proved ourselves against Leith, but there have been other games this season where we really should have picked up more than one point.” Spartans welcome back midfielder Lucasz Rusin to their squad for tonight’s game, but Blair McWhirter remains injured.

Craigroyston have signed Edinburgh City midfielder Michael Pentland on a short-term loan and he is in the squad for tonight’s match. Craig Dickson is suspended, as the visitors look to start 2015 with a victory following a difficult first half to the season which has left them struggling at the tail end of the league with no home wins.

Tomorrow, league leaders Leith Athletic welcome second place Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale to Meadowbank 3G (kick-off 3pm) with both sides looking to return to winning ways following last weekend when the whole of The East of Scotland fixture card was wiped out due to the wintry weather.

There are no major injury concerns for tomorrow’s match, with Lothian well aware that victory would put them into pole position, although Leith still have two games in hand on their rivals.

“If you want to win the league, these are the games that you have to win and we’re all looking forward to it,” said Lothian manager Kevin Twaddle who has confirmed that striker Louis Swanson has had a third operation on his broken leg.

In tomorrow’s other match, Tynecastle travel to Civil Service Strollers hoping to give a debut to midfielder Ryan Wilson who has been signed on a one-month loan from Edinburgh City. Gavin McCarthy is suspended with Civil Service missing Jake Moyes and Dayne Robertson (both suspended).

Tomorrow’s match kicks off at 2pm.

First Division

Ormiston manager Brian Johnston welcomes back Dean Woods to his squad for tomorrow’s trip to Burntisland

Shipyard.

Woods is Ormiston’s top goalscorer this season with 11, but had been struggling with a groin injury in recent weeks.

“Dean is obviously an important player for us and having him back in the squad will give the other players confidence as well,” said Johnston, who is also able to welcome back Declan Quinn.

“We play them [Burntisland] for the fourth time this season tomorrow and although they’ve all ended in 2-1 victories to us, we could have scored more goals on each occasion,” admitted Johnston as his side look to close the gap on Peebles Rovers to three points.

Heriot-Watt University welcome Duns to Riccarton with the match being switched from Duns’ New Hawthorn Park due to drainage problems. Watt’s match with Burntisland at Riccarton last weekend was abandoned after 40 minutes due to snow, Scott Dargo having given the students the lead.

“It was just one of those things for us, although I felt sorry for Burntisland because of the journey they had to make from Fife,” said Watt head coach Chris Smith.

“The referee made his decision in the end and you have to respect that.”

The students have no fresh injury concerns for tomorrow’s match with defender Kurt Banks having resumed light training following a nerve complaint in his back.

Both matches kick-off at 2pm.