Edinburgh City captain Josh Walker will return to Borough Briggs tomorrow just under a year after making his debut. And, while much has changed at the club since then, the aim of SPFL survival remains the same.
The Middlesbrough academy graduate played in January’s 3-1 defeat by Elgin City and, since then, has found himself playing at a new home ground, under a new manager in James McDonaugh.
A first win under the new boss would be a welcome tonic before heading back down the A9 tomorrow evening.
“You could say the club’s come full circle since then,” said Walker. “It’s completely changed from when I first came through the door. I made my debut up there and it was another game that was frustrating. We created a lot of chances that day and lost the game 3-1.
“They’re a decent side Elgin and deserve our respect, but hopefully we can go full circle as well and get three points.”
The trip to the Highlands comes during a month in which City rack up the miles. Last weekend, they went to Peterhead and played well for 46 minutes until a red card and penalty did for their chances and led to a 3-0 defeat. A home game against Stenhousemuir will break up the travelling somewhat before another road trip – south to face Annan Athletic two days before Christmas.
“We’re getting the fuel cards out!,” Walker joked. “It’s what football’s about, travelling here, there and everywhere. Our last game was Peterhead and this week it’s Elgin, so it’s another good game. They’re another team that like to play, similar to Peterhead and they like to get the ball down.
“Going back to last season, we played Elgin at Meadowbank and there was a lot of pressure on us that game. We hadn’t won for quite a while but we beat them 3-0 and I don’t think anyone could have complained if we’d beaten them 7-0.
“This league is a bit like that – people can get carried away sometimes with your position in the table.
“We’ll go there showing them respect but we need to keep the belief that we’ve got. The last four, five games have been a huge improvement and I think every week is getting better. I know it doesn’t look it from the scoreline last Saturday but it was harsh with the sending-off and it was always going to be an uphill task after that.
“It’s about getting together and going again. After a good week of training we’ll go up there full of confidence knowing that we’re capable of beating any team in this league.”
Walker does acknowledge that it’s all very well saying so, but he and his team-mates have to prove it sooner rather than later. “It’s a case of actually getting that win then pushing on from there,” he said. “We don’t want to get dragged in to a relegation fight all season but, at the minute, we’re in one so we need to knuckle down.
“We can talk about things having improved in terms of possession and creating chances, but I’d love to say on Saturday after the game that we’ve won 1-0, were terrible and they scored an own goal. I’d take that.”
Walker does believe that McDonaugh’s methods are beginning to bear fruit. “The gaffer’s pretty much drilled it in to us from minute one – he wants us to be a side that can pass and move the ball,” Walker explained. “Especially with the players we’ve got, he wants to utilise the strengths in our team and that’s starting to show.
“Myself, Lairdy [Marc Laird] and Thommo [Craig Thomson] are getting a lot more touches of the ball now. “At the same time, the gaffer understands the position we’re in and it’s not a case of trying to play for the sake of playing, it’s with a purpose. We’re creating chances.”