THEY’RE miles apart in terms of spending power but Ballingry and Dalkeith clash tomorrow at a time when they’re sitting first and second respectively in the Premier Division.
Dalkeith manager Willie Pearson can’t see his team, last season’s South Division champions, hanging on to that lofty status as the season progresses. He reckons Thistle have been “punching above our weight” in the opening quarter of the campaign in the East Region’s second-top flight, but he is backing his players to give a better account of themselves against Ballingry than they did when losing 8-1 at Tayport a few weeks back.
“We’re having a hard time defensively,” admitted Pearson, a comment backed up by Dalkeith conceding nine goals in drawing their last two league games. “Apart from that, though, we’re enjoying ourselves and, even after results like the Tayport one, we’ve still retained the togetherness we had last season.”
Ballingry already look hot favourites for the title, having dropped just three points in six games under former Linlithgow boss Dave Baikie.
“We can’t compete with the likes of Ballingry when it comes to paying wages – we’ve got a side that’s full of young boys,” added Pearson. “Dave Baikie has helped me a lot in the game and I respect him because of that. But we won’t be going there on Saturday to lie down.”
If he has come through a bounce game on Tuesday without any ill-effects, Johnny Kelly should be in the Thistle squad for the first time this season.
The midfielder has been sidelined with shin splints and his presence in midfield would come as a real boost for the Midlothian men.