Spartans aiming to thwart Easthouses’ flying start

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Spartans EOS manager Alex Cunningham is looking forward to tomorrow’s Central Taxis Premier Division clash with the league’s early pace setters Easthouses Lily at Ainslie Park.

Lily top the Premier League with maximum points from their opening two league games, whilst Spartans have stuttered in their last two league fixtures after a frustrating 1-1 draw at home to Civil Service Strollers last week and a 5-2 defeat to Leith Athletic the week before.

However, Cunningham believes that with the return of players Brad Raiker, Andy Howat, Sebastian Pyda from suspension and Blair McWhirter, his side will be able to push on and make a genuine challenge for the Premier Division title in the long term.

“Teams come to Spartans and they see us a major scalp” admitted Cunningham. “We’ve got fantastic training facilities and a wonderful 5G surface at Ainslie Park, and not all teams get the opportunity to even train on surfaces like that.

“But looking ahead to tomorrow, I’m glad we have home advantage because Easthouses play on a very tight pitch and no team is going to get an easy game there this season.”

Cunningham added: “They are the surprise package so far. Dave McQueenie has done a great job and added some new faces to his team and they seemed to have gelled together pretty quickly.

Spartans will be missing Ian Ballantyne and Robbie Laird tomorrow due to injury, with both Chris O’Dea and Lewis Kidd still on the long-term casualty list.

The league leaders travel to Ainslie Park missing forward Craig Brown, who has an injured metatarsal, and defender Gordon Wilson, who pulled his hamstring in the 5-2 win at Coldstream last week.

Elsewhere in the Premier, Leith Athletic meet Civil Service Strollers at the Edinburgh College Sports Ground, with the visitors looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the season. Athletic will be missing Keith Murray, who is suspended following his red card at Stirling University last week.

Civil Service Strollers will play under the guidance of coaches Colin Tomassi, Kevin Douglas and Bryan Weir for match with Leith tomorrow due to Ross McNeil’s absence.

Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale travel to Stirling University, with manager Kevin Twaddle under no illusions his reigning champions are in for a tough game against last term’s runners up.

“A lot of the students are going back to university now so they should have a bigger pool of players to choose from. We’ll be in for a hard game, but we’ll be looking to continue our recent run of good form.”

Tynecastle travel to Coldstream tomorrow with manager Stephen McKenzie looking to build on recent good results against Craigroyston and Kelso United.

All matches are 2.30pm kick-offs except the clash at Ainslie Park which starts at 3pm.