Leith Athletic aim to increase lead at the top

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The Central Taxis Premier Division returns this weekend after its three-week festive break with the pick of the games a top-of-the-table clash at Newbattle Complex.

Leith Athletic have the chance to increase their lead at the top knowing a win over Dave McQueenie’s Easthouses would see them open up a six-point advantage over one of their nearest challengers.

Derek Riddel’s players have kept themselves in top shape over the Christmas period with a series of friendly matches that included victories over Forest Hall of Newcastle and Lowland League outfit Preston Athletic, as well as a narrow loss to Junior Super League outfit Musselburgh Athletic last Sunday.

The Meadowbank side will be looking to build on a fantastic first half to the season which has seen them lose just one league fixture and maintain an interest in the Image Printers Cup with the Alex Jack Cup already in the bag.

Lewis Martin is on a travel excursion for the next six months, but Riddel would have been encouraged by the performance of some of his under 21 and 20 players in the recent friendly outings with the likes of James Hainey and Dylan Moore both impressing.

Easthouses will be missing Paul McDermott due to suspension, otherwise McQueenie has a full quota to choose from for the visit of the league leaders knowing that victory would put them level on points with their opponents as the two sides clash for the third time this season.

Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale have been rocked by the news that Louis Swanson has suffered a double leg break, sustained in a friendly match with Blackburn Juniors over the festive period that is likely to keep him out of action for several months.

“It’s a real blow for the lad because he’s got talent in abundance,” said Hutchie manager Kevin Twaddle whose side welcome Civil Service Strollers to Saughton tomorrow.

“We had a similar situation with Scott Moffat when he got injured but he’s come back a little quicker than expected. This is an entirely different injury and it’s a great shame for Louis.”

Hutchie will be looking to make it four league wins on the bounce against a side who they beat 3-2 at Saughton last month, whilst Civil will be without the suspended Jake Moyes and Dayne Robertson with Ross McWilliams and Chris Tobin also missing.

Elsewhere, Tynecastle host Spartans EOS at Fernieside with the hosts in action for the first time since December 6 following two league postponements against Coldstream and Stirling University.

Craigroyston will be looking for valuable points at the bottom of the division knowing that victory over Stirling University could lift them into seventh place.

All tomorrow’s matches kick off at 2.00pm subject to pitch inspections.