Musselburgh Athletic’s Michael McKenna hopes his manager David McGlynn won’t be swapping dugouts after their match at home to Linlithgow Rose tomorrow, with the Olivebank boss being tipped as a potential replacement for Mark Bradley.
McKenna, 23, feels he has improved as a player under McGlynn and would be sad to see him go, but that hasn’t stopped him and his fellow team-mates from winding up their manager about speculation linking him with the Prestonfield vacancy this week.
He said: “He’d be a big miss to us all. David’s training is different class. He is a really hard worker. I’ve became a better player under him in the last two years. After being released from Dunfermline I felt I was declining, but under David I’ve improved and was close to getting a full-time contract in January.
“We’ve been having a joke saying ‘We’ll see you in the Linlithgow dugout on Saturday’. Hopefully he doesn’t go though, he’d be a big miss.”
McKenna is expected to wear the captain’s armband tomorrow after Mathu King left the club due to work commitments and he is aiming to lead Musselburgh to their first victory over Linlithgow Rose since June 2002. With the week Linlithgow have had – losing 6-0 to lowly St Andrews and then losing their manager – he feels this could be a good time to play the champions. “I think it’s one of our best chances to beat them that we’ve had in a long time. The last two times we have played them they’ve been flying. If we were to beat Linlithgow, I think that would put them out of the title race.”
With Musselburgh yet to win this year, it could be a tough ask for the Olivebank outfit, although they can take confidence from their run which began at the end of February last year and took them unbeaten through to the end of the season. If they are to maintain aspirations of a top-six finish, they will have to find similar form this time round.
Linlithgow striker Gordon Herd believes that, although the last week has left the club in shock, a win tomorrow could kick-start their season and keep their title dream alive. He said: “We’ve got to group together to get us out this bad run. We got a good response from the boys on Monday at training.
“The result on Saturday was a shock to everybody and obviously Mark decided it was time to go. It was a double whammy – we lost our manager and it’s the heaviest defeat I’ve seen in my time at Linlithgow. It’s just not good enough for a club the size of Linlithgow.”
Linlithgow sit 13 points behind leaders Newtongrange but have three games in hand. Second-place Bo’ness, however, are seven points ahead of Rose having played the same number of games.
If the Prestonfield side are to have any hope of regaining their title, they’ll have to ensure they get their away form back on track. Rose have lost their last three games on the road despite securing maximum points from their opening five away fixtures.
Herd is first to admit that his side should be doing better, pin-pointing a lack of a settled XI as a big factor in an underwhelming campaign which has led to a drop in confidence.
He said: “We’ve not really had a settled team. Last season we had the same team playing nearly every week, whereas this season a mixture of injuries, suspensions and guys unable to make it due to work have affected that. Even with the squad we’ve got, we should be doing better. The run of results recently has affected confidence and confidence can play a huge part.
“If we can win on Saturday and then away to Armadale the following week, hopefully it will kick-start our season and we can maybe go on a run like last year.”
Linlithgow are without Stuart McArthur, Jamie McKenzie and Andy Shirra through long term injuries tomorrow, while Steven Meechan is suspended after getting ordered off last weekend.
John Ovenstone is free to play despite his red card last week after Rose appealed the decision. Apart from captain King, who left this week, Musselburgh have a full squad to choose from.