Under normal circumstances, Preston Athletic manager Willie Kirk would be raring to go after an enforced month’s break from competitive action due to postponements.
However, given that his Panners face top-of-the-table Edinburgh City at Meadowbank tonight (7.45) with a number of players missing, Kirk can be forgiven for not quite relishing the prospect.
“From my point of view, I’m not desperate for this game to go ahead because we have so many players missing,” said the former Hibs Ladies boss. “I’m pleased we’re finally getting a game, but I wouldn’t have been overly disappointed if we’d had a monsoon over the last few days! We’ve been training and we had a friendly just before Christmas so it’s been okay. We had a game of fives on Saturday so there’s been a certain amount and type of activity just to keep them ticking over.”
Athletic’s last competitive game was their 2-0 league win at Spartans on December 6 and Kirk is frustrated that they were denied the opportunity to kick on from such an impressive result.
“That’s been the biggest frustration – not being able to build any momentum from that result. That’s what happened when we beat Threave 6-0 – we ended up having a free week the week after so we’ve never been able to follow up a victory with another game.” That win at Ainslie Park was the East Lothian club’s first away victory of the season and only their second in total and Kirk will draw on that result when they try to topple the league leaders on their own patch tonight.
“I’ll probably use that as motivation and belief that it doesn’t really matter what the league table says, you can beat anybody on your day. How we approach the game will depend on who’s available. We trained on Monday and did a bit of shape but it’ll depend on who we have.”
In that sense, he’ll have his work cut-out with a number of players unable to play. “Chris Cairney’s suspended and the three Hearts lads’ [Aaron Scott, Liam Henderson and Alistair Roy] loans expired on Monday and won’t be renewed ‘til later on in the week, if at all, which is unfortunate. We’re hopeful of renewing two of the three at least. That’ll test us a bit as we’ve got a couple of injury knocks as well.”