Elgin City v Hibs preview: Marciano to start? | Strongest XI? | Where and when to watch

This evening sees Hibs make their first trip since to Borough Briggs since Elgin City were granted league status.

Friday, 26th July 2019, 12:27 pm
Florian Kamberi netted a fine goal in the win over Arbroath. Picture: SNS

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'Simply about blowing the cobwebs away': Journalists' predictions for Elgin City...

Three sides remain in the running for qualification to the knockout stages of the Betfred Cup but the Easter Road side know that all they have to do is win to ensure their place in the next round.

Paul Heckinbottom's men come into the match after a confident performance against Arbroath in Leith on Tuesday.

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Florian Kamberi netted a fine goal in the win over Arbroath. Picture: SNS

Fans enjoyed what they saw in comparison to the draw with Stirling Albion and win over Alloa Atheltic with the midfield having a better balance.

Stevie Mallan and Josh Vela, making his debut, impressed as did Sean Mackie filling for Lewis Stevenson. The support also had their appetite whetted with Florian Kamberi running onto a Scott Allan through ball to score.

Heckingbottom alternated goalkeepers once more with Chris Maxwell keeping a clean sheet and that should continue with Ofir Marciano likely to start between the sticks as the boss told the pair to "fight it out" for the No.1 position.

Further changes could see Steven Whittaker, Fraser Murray Darren McGregor and Daryl Horgan all start with Vykintas Slivka, Ryan Porteous, David Gray and Lewis Stevenson all remaining on the sidelines.

Magic number

23 - The number of Hibs goals for Florian Kamberi in 59 appearances.

Possible teams

Elgin City: McHale; Wilson, Bronksy, McDonald, Sparks; Cooper, MacEwan, Dingwall, Omar; Sutherland, Hester. Subs from: Sopel, McGowan, Scott, O'Keefe, Loveland, Dunn, Willis.

Hibs: Marciano; Whittaker, McGregor, Hanlon, Mackie; Vela; Boyle, Mallan, Allan, Horgan; Kamberi. Subs from: Macwell, Sadiki, Jackson, James, Stirling, Boyle, Newell, Doidge, Shaw, Campbell.

Key battle

In Elgin's 3-3 draw with Alloa, all three of the Wasps' goals came down their left-hand side. Paul Heckingbottom expects the opponents to "defend deep and deny space". Width is going to be crucial so It could be the perfect opportunity for Martin Boyle to continue building his match fitness and gain further confidence.

Lowdown on opponents

Until Elgin swept Stirling Albion to the side with a comfortable 3-0 win, Kane Hester netting the goal of the game, they had won just one Betfred Cup group stage match in regulation time since they were introduced in 2016.

Now, they are in the unfamiliar position of being in the running for qualification with one game to go. That, however, means betting Hibs by two goals and hoping Arbroath slip up at home to Alloa Athletic.

It is an unlikely scenario but one the team are confident of achieving, starting with a win over a side defender David Wilson reckons are "arguably the best team in the competition at the moment" in front of the BT cameras.

He told the Press and Journal: “We definitely go into it with a lot of confidence we can give them a good game.

“It’s going to have to be the perfect performance to go and win, everyone is going to need to be at the top of their game.

“Hibs drew their first game against Stirling, so maybe they are not quite firing just yet. We all need to play well, keep our shape and press like we know we can.

“We know what to expect against them, we have played them before. At Borough Briggs it’s going to be a bit harder for them, the pitch is not going to be quite as good as what they are used to.

“We are hoping we can maybe catch them cold.”

The team do have reason to believe. As well as the Stirling win, they ran Arbroath very close and drew 3-3 at Alloa before picking up the bonus point.

Since joining the Scottish Football League in 2000, Elgin have yet to get out of the fourth tier. That will be their objective this season but qualifying from a group with Hibs could surpass that feat.

Referee

Willie Collum is the man in the middle at Borough Briggs.

TV

The game kicks off at 7.45pm and is live on BT Sport 1 with the programme starting at 7.15pm.