Leith tick over on all-weather as Burntisland’s ship comes in

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Leith ATHLETIC and Burntisland Shipyard, two of the East of Scotland League’s newest recruits, meet for the first occasion in the Central Taxis First Division at Spartans’ Ainslie Park, kick-off 3pm.

Leith made their debut in the East Seniors in season 2008-09, while Burntisland are enjoying their first season and have already proved to be a worthy addition having recorded a cup win against Gala Fairydean and a draw against Edinburgh City while also occupying a creditable mid-table position in the First Division.

Derek Riddel, the Leith manager, has been luckier than most managers during the recent inclement weather as his club has been given permission to play their home games on the all-weather surface at Ainslie Park as their ground at Marine Drive undergoes repair work.

“We beat Hawick Royal Albert 4-1 just before Christmas and then played a friendly against Spartans in which we managed to give all of our squad at least 45 minutes of football,” said Riddel. “Tomorrow, we have to make sure that we do not underestimate Burntisland Shipyard who will be coming here with absolutely no fear.

“This is a new team for us to play against and we are looking forward to a fresh start to the new year. We want to get as many points on the board as possible because, come the latter part of the season, we could be playing two or even three games per week.”

Leith have Jack Combe back in their ranks after a spell in 
the United States although Lewis Tracey is unavailable. Burntisland report no selection concerns.

Meanwhile, in the Premier Division, Preston Athletic await Vale of Leithen, with neither side having been in competitive action since mid-November.

“We managed to arrange a bounce game last Saturday and it pretty much showed that we had not played for six weeks,” said the Preston manager, David Bingham. “The friendly gave us some much-needed match practice, although we have been able to train on five-a-side pitches which has kept us ticking over. Players train to play and when they don’t play it is very frustrating.

“The Premier Division table has a disjointed look about it at present although I always maintain that it is better to have the points on the board than games in hand.”

The Vale of Leithen manager Fraser Ogilvie said: “We managed to arrange a friendly against Gala Fairydean on their all-weather surface last weekend and everyone who was fit and available played for 45 minutes. There was some rustiness but hopefully the competitive edge will return tomorrow.”

Gala Fairydean have both Darren Bowie and Dean Boyne suspended for their meeting 
at Netherdale with Berwick Rangers Reserves.