Spartans boss praying long-term injuries clear up

Spartans manager Dougie Samuel

Spartans manager Dougie Samuel

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Spartans will renew rivalries with Edinburgh University on Saturday in the Football Nation East of Scotland Qualifying Cup third round, although Dougie Samuel will again be without a number of first-team players.

Several of Samuel’s experienced charges have been long-term absentees this season, and the Ainslie Park boss doesn’t expect the majority back until after the new year.

“[Scott] Maxwell, [Jack] Beesley and [John] Grant haven’t played any football for the first team this season,” Samuel explained. “[Ally] MacKinnon’s missed a lot of matches and [Dan] Ward’s missed a lot of matches so we’ve got a lot of experience on the sidelines just now. We’d like to have MacKinnon back before Christmas; I think he’s got the best chance, but the others will be January at the earliest.”

Dorian Ogunro’s students are looking to recover from a 5-1 defeat by Edinburgh City at Meadowbank last week, and will be hoping their strong performances at East Peffermill last season can continue.

After three postponements in succession of their South Challenge Cup fixture against Duns, Whitehill Welfare will be hoping a change of opposition brings a change of luck with Cumbernauld Colts due to visit Ferguson Park on Ferrari Packaging Lowland League duty. The Colts themselves suffered a postponement to their William Hill Scottish Cup third round tie at Stirling Albion on Saturday.

Welfare could potentially move up to fourth in the table on goal difference if they achieve a third home win of the season.