James McDonaugh challenges Edinburgh City to end first quarter on high and derail Cowdenbeath challenge
James McDonaugh has challenged on-form Edinburgh City to end a promising opening quarter to the season by derailing one of their main title rivals.
Second-place City are at Central Park tomorrow to face third-place Cowdenbeath in a match between two sides whose only league defeat this term came at the hands of leaders Cove Rangers.
The Capital are outfit are unbeaten in their last seven League Two fixtures and McDonaugh is eager to see his team extend that run.
“We’ve got 19 points from eight games which is a brilliant return,” said the City manager. “There’s only one team in the country with more points than us but unfortunately they’re in the same league as us. If we could get to 22 points this weekend, it would be an exceptional first quarter. Even 19 in each quarter puts you in contention for winning the league.”
McDonaugh is thrilled with the way his team are shaping up despite being without key trio Callum Antell, Blair Henderson and Andy Black in recent matches. “I’m very happy with the way things are going – we’ve been really good,” he said. “Everybody always looks back to the first game of the season at Cove but we’ve been really good since then. The players deserve a lot of credit for the way they’ve responded. They’ve shown a good mixture of being able to play good football and also scrap away when required. We’ve found a multitude of ways to win. It’s been an exceptional response since the Cove game. We’ve won every game except the Elgin game but even that game I took a lot of positives from because we came back from 3-2 down late on, so it was a point gained.
“In the last few games, we’ve been missing our first-choice goalkeeper from last season, our 38-goal striker and Andy Black, who were all part of the spine from last season. We’d have good cause to refer to those three players not being available if things weren’t going well but credit to the boys we’ve signed and the boys who have come in and taken their chance because nobody’s really mentioned those three big players that much.”
Talisman Henderson is expected back later this month. “Blair’s had a couple of wee niggly things at the top of his thigh, round about his hip,” explained McDonaugh. “He had an injury that’s over-spilled from last season. He tried to start the season with it but he was never fully right, as you could probably see in the games he played. We’re not going to rush him back – we’re trying to get him back fully fit rather having to put him in and out the team. He’s running just now so hopefully he’ll be back training next week.”