Craigroyston and Tynecastle will enter their clash at St Mark’s Park tomorrow with the target of closing to within a point of Central Taxis Premier Division leaders Stirling University.
Victory for either side would move them onto 21 points, and both Craigie and Tynie will hope Heriot-Watt University – in action against Stirling at Riccarton – can do them a favour by ensuring Stirling are unable to add to their tally of 22 points.
Tynie secretary Alistair Wilkie hopes his side can replicate the form they displayed in a 5-0 crushing of Craigie in mid-October and in their cup defeat of Lowland League side University of Stirling.
Wilkie said: “It’ll be a tough game for both sides but if we repeat the form we showed against Stirling University two weeks ago and in the Craigroyston game, we’re confident of getting a positive result.”
Heriot-Watt manager Chris Smith will only have the aim of lifting his joint-bottom side clear of Civil Service Strollers when they play host to Stirling.
“As always, we’re looking forward to the challenge of playing one of the best teams in the league in Stirling,” said Smith. “Although they have had a tough run of results recently, they will be well-organised and, after a free week last week, they should be ready for the game.”
David Myatt returns from suspension for Watt, while Chris Donnelly could re-sign for the club in time for the match.
In a repeat of last month’s Alex Jack Cup final, Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale face Leith Athletic, with the latter targeting a similar result.
“We’re looking forward to the game and expect that Lothian will be looking for some revenge after the cup final,” said Leith boss Derek Riddel, whose side will be without the injured duo of Lachlan Thom (knee) and captain Gary Black (groin) but welcome back Lewis Tracey. “They’ve had a few changes since the final and, while [new Lothian boss] Kevin Twaddle will still be getting to know everyone, they are the favourites for the league.
Lothian manager Twaddle, who has a full squad at his disposal, said: “It’s another tough challenge for us. But the boys have been fantastic since the new management team came in.”
At Peffermill, Edinburgh University will look to resurrect their challenge against Coldstream in a match that Uni boss Dorian Ogunro expects to provide a different type of obstacle to last week’s 1-1 draw at Leith. “Tomorrow’s game against Coldstream will be a different challenge to last week. It will be a tough match against a very physical and direct side.”
George Nikolaidis is the only absentee for the Uni.