The Edinburgh University head coach, Dorian Ogunro, is confident that his side can climb up the Central Taxis Premier Division, starting with a win against Preston Athletic, who are also languishing at the wrong end of the table.
The students have failed to win any of their eight league fixtures and have amassed only four points from four draws, while Preston have six points from a win against their opponents tomorrow and bottom club, Tynecastle.
“We have only four points from a possible 24 which is definitely not good enough, especially with the calibre of players we have,” said Ogunro.
“We urgently need performances to start now, we cannot wait any longer. Fortunately, two or three wins gets you right into the top half although it’s at that point of the season already where we need to start picking up these wins. I think that my players are now starting to get that message.
“Last season we only had four points before Christmas then had a great run of winning nine out of ten games. We have the squad again this season, so now we must start winning.”
The students were beaten 1-0 last weekend by Civil Service Strollers and Ogunro reflected on that game by saying: “Defensively we were very good but what let us down was our forwards, their inability to keep possession of the football and their movement was not good enough. The ball just kept coming back to our midfield and defence and the Strollers attacked in the wide areas.
“There was nothing in the game. The Strollers took the one chance that they had and we did not create many because of our forwards kept giving the ball away immediately so there was nothing to build on. It’s frustrating when you know that you have good forwards who are not doing their jobs, while our defence is doing their job but not getting rewarded.” The University returned to action in midweek, beating Stirling University 4-3 and Ogunro said: “We were extremely penetrative and we looked like we would score lots of goals. We kept possession well in the wide areas and got a lot of good crosses in.”
Turning his attention to tomorrow, Ogunro said: “This is a must-win game. It will definitely be a competitive game, much the same as last week. It will also be a difficult game but having played them before, and I know that they beat us, I’m confident that if we play to our strengths and all different parts of my team can function at a basic level then we can get a result.”
Ogunro will have Liam Valentine in goals while Craig Rankin returns in defence and George Nikolidis and Andrey Kuzmenko will provide the coach with options up front.
Meanwhile, David Bingham, the Preston Athletic manager, in his first season in charge, is also aware that his side must continue to pick up points, building on their 3-1 away win against Tynecastle last Saturday. “Any win is a good win but especially against teams who could be fighting against us in the bottom half of the table,” said Bingham.
“It is very important that when we play these teams we pick up points. We gave away a poor goal early last week but the players showed great resilience and fought back to score three goals and earn us a massive three points to put a wee bit of daylight between us and the four teams below us.
“We beat Edinburgh University 4-3 in our earlier league meeting in a game in which we played as well as we have done all season. That was another performance in which my players showed resilience. We showed great team effort and we are working very effectively – all we need to do is create a few more chances and then score from them.
“Tomorrow is about how my boys apply themselves. They must match their opponents both individually and collectively and if they win their individual battles then we should win. The University are very attack-minded and play similar to us so this could be another goal fest.”
Goalkeeper John Gilbertson is likely to be out for the rest of the season although he has two contenders for the jersey, Liam Robertson and Sean Thomson, while Kevin Morrison and Peter Newby are injured. “I may bring in some trialists as this is a team still under construction although we are not far away,” said Bingham.
The game kicks off at the Pennypit Stadium, Prestonpans at 2.30pm. Adults £5.00, concessions £2.00.