Bonnyrigg Rose boss Robbie Horn admits their preparation for tomorrow’s ETHX Energy Scottish Junior Cup last-16 clash at home to Pollok hasn’t been ideal, but he’s confident his players will be ready for the ‘tie of the round’.
The New Dundas Park outfit have been idle for the last few weeks, opting for the training ground on a Saturday afternoon rather than the playing field, with their East of Scotland Cup match away to Downfield being postponed the last two weekends.
Former Berwick Rangers assistant Horn has therefore been able to watch their opponents in action twice – two 1-0 victories over Junior Cup holders Auchinleck Talbot and Shettleston taking Tony McInally’s side to the top of the West Super League Premier Division.
Pollok going top of their league simply adds to the build-up for tomorrow’s highly-anticipated tie with Bonnyrigg top of the East Super League – essentially meaning the two in-form teams from the East and West are set to battle it out for a place in the quarter-finals.
Despite their lack of match action, Horn isn’t concerned about the fitness of his side going into the match, insisting their adrenalin and hunger for match action will get them through the 90 minutes.
“Our build up to the match has not been great and it’s disappointing that the league has not been able to organise provisional fixtures for teams, which means we’ve got to catch up,” said Horn.
“There’s not been much we could do, we tried to organise friendlies but it’s just not been possible with astroturf pitches already booked. It’s not ideal preparation going into the game, but the players have worked hard at training and it has also given me the opportunity to go and watch Pollok a couple of times and see what they are all about, so in that respect it has been good. Not having games is not ideal but the players will be ready. They’ve trained hard and I’ve relayed information to them that I’ve picked up the last couple of weeks.
“They will be a wee bit short on match practice but fitness wise I don’t see any problems. The boys have worked really hard, they’ve had hard sessions. We’ve trained every Saturday and we’ve done a bit of fitness as well. The players are raring to go, they are champing at the bit for a game. Hopefully the adrenalin takes us through, there isn’t a problem with fitness it’s just match practice. The boys will be fired up and ready to go.”
Horn has been left impressed by the attacking capabilities of Pollok in his two spying trips. They possess a formidable front pairing of Robbie and David Winters. The two veteran strikers who can list Aberdeen, Dundee United and Ross County among their former clubs, have a combined age of 73. While in-behind they have Carlo Monti, formerly full-time at Dundee, who recently re-joined Pollok after leaving Maltese club Zebbug Rangers.
Horn continued: “They are top of the Super League through there, they’ve obviously played more games than the other teams, but they’ve got good players. They’ve got dangerous players going forward – the Winters brothers, Davie and Robbie along with Carlo Monti. Monti is a really talented footballer and he is the main danger man for me.
“Both teams like to play football, Pollok are similar to ourselves in terms of the way they go about things – they’ve got a bit of spirit and they work hard. I’m expecting a difficult game but I know that if we can perform like I know we can, I think we’ve got a good chance of getting through. I think we can cause them problems from what I’ve seen, no doubt about it.”
Horn is sweating over the fitness of striker Wayne McIntosh who punctured his foot after standing on a nail at work and didn’t train earlier this week. Midfielder Andrew Kidd is also doubtful, although recent signings Kerr Young and Ross Drummond are available for selection.