Edinburgh City face defensive crisis ahead of Stirling trip in League Two play-off race

Manager Gary Naysmith (Picture: SNS)Manager Gary Naysmith (Picture: SNS)
Manager Gary Naysmith (Picture: SNS)
Edinburgh City boss Gary Naysmith has admitted he faces a central defensive crisis when they travel to play-off rivals Stirling Albion tonight.

The Citizens not only suffered their first defeat since the former Queen of the South and East Fife manager took over the reins last month in Saturday's 3-2 loss to Queen's Park, but goalscorer and central defender Liam Henderson limped off with a calf problem and is now a major doubt to take his place in the starting line-up at Forthbank this evening.

With Jordan Tapping already ruled out and Lee Hamilton rated doubtful, Naysmith says his options are limited ahead of the second versus third clash. Conrad Balatoni is still stepping up his return to full fitness following an ankle problem.

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"We've picked up another injury with Liam and that isn't helping us at this busy period," Naysmith explained. "We're not getting a run where the central defenders can build up a partnership as it's getting chopped and changed every game. We had another two in on Saturday with Liam and Sam Denham and Conrad is nearly back which will help us but we just can't build a settled centre-half partnership at the moment.

"That can be an excuse if you look for it but we're not using it as one because we have been getting good results. That said, it might be a factor as to why we're not keeping as many clean sheets as we would like – we're still getting used to one another. But overall the players' effort since I arrived through the doors last month has been exceptional. The result against Queens on Saturday is in the past so we now have to focus on Stirling tonight.

"It's a big game and if we can secure the three points then we'll be second going into the split. Stirling don't lose a lot of goals and they've got a decent home record. We'll put out our strongest team possible to go and try and get a result. We're coming to the business end of the season now so it's all to play for."

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