Penicuik Athletic boss Craig Meikle believes the pressure is all on Newtongrange Star to emerge with the three points in tomorrow’s Midlothian derby.
Top-of-the-table Penicuik can stretch 15 points clear of their rivals with victory and given the signings made at New Victoria Park over the summer, Meikle insists the pressure to win is all on their opponents.
“All the pressure is on Newtongrange as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “We’re still in our second season in the Super League, yes we are an ambitious club and we think we won’t be too far away come the end of the season, but Newtongrange had aspirations to win the league this season and with the signings and the money they’ve spent, they’ll be really disappointed with their start.”
The Cuikie suffered their first Super League defeat in nine games stemming back to mid-August with a 1-0 loss in Fife to Hill of Beath last weekend. That allowed Bonnyrigg Rose to close the gap on the league leaders to a point and just five points seperate the top six down to Musselburgh Athletic.
Despite sitting top of the league standings, Meikle hasn’t been entirely satisfied with their performanes so far – believing they have a lot more to offer.
He said: “We’ve still not played well, we’re sitting top of the league and we’re still not happy with our general play. We do the dirty side of the game brilliant but I’d like to see us doing a bit better when we’ve got the ball. I think the boys are still to reach their full potential.”
Newtongrange go into the match on the back of an agonising Junior Cup replay loss on penalties to Petershill, with the West outfit emerging 9-8 winners after a 2-2 draw.
Star sit in 12th spot but have four games in hand over their opponents tomorrow, although manager Alan Miller is in no doubt that his side have to start winning games soon.
He said: “If we’ve got any ambitions to challenge for the league we have to start winning games, although I don’t agree with the phrase must-win as you go out with the aim to win every game. If the players continue to put in the hard work they’ve shown in the last few weeks we’ll be fine. We know that things will turn for us.”
Penicuik are without goalkeeper Youssef Bejaoui for tomorrow’s match so experienced shot-stopper Ryan McGurk is set to make his first competitive start for the club.
Ryan Gay is doubtful with a foot injury, while visiting striker Kris Renton is also rated as doubtful with a hamstring strain, although defender David Dunn returns to the squad.