Riddel: Leith young guns get a taste of the future

Derek Riddel. Picture: Neil Hanna
Derek Riddel. Picture: Neil Hanna
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Leith Athletic have the chance to extend their lead at the top of the Central Taxis Premier Division to six points tonight when they face Spartans EOS at Ainslie Park (kick off 7.45pm).

Derek Riddel’s title-chasing side have drawn their last two league games against closest challengers Easthouses Lily and Stirling University.

Athletic have had to contend with a series of injuries and suspensions in recent weeks and although Grant Burns, Neil Lowson and Kenny Hall are expected to return, Riddel will still be without Jamie Lauder (knee), Lewis Tracey (ankle) and Lachlan Thom (hamstring).

Riddel has been impressed with the form of some of his under-21 players who have been drafted into the Leith squad in recent weeks to plug the gaps, with the likes of James Hainey and Kerr Allan featuring in last weekend’s draw with Stirling.

“James and Kerr along with a number of players from our under-20s and under-21s are the future of our club and as the season progresses, their names will become more regular in the squad,” said Riddel.

Spartans EOS, meanwhile, are the league’s draw specialists with five stalemate encounters to their name already this season. Boss Alex Cunningham is missing Blair McWhirter for tonight’s match as he will require an operation for an injury, as well as Mike Gray and Lucasz Rusin.

Tomorrow, Easthouses Lily have the opportunity to remain in touch with Leith at the top when they travel to Stirling University. Dave McQueenie will be without Gordon Wilson who has a family engagement, and Graeme Young is suspended after last weekend’s booking in the enthralling 5-5 draw with Coldstream took him thorough the disciplinary points barrier.

Craigroyston moved off the bottom of the league after their win at Lothian Thistle last weekend, and Gary Aitchison’s team will be looking to build on that morale-boosting win when they host Tynecastle at St Mark’s Park. In the other remaining league fixture, Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale travel to Coldstream.

Meanwhile, Civil Service Strollers host Heriot-Watt University for the right to face Leith Athletic in round three of the Image Printers Cup.

Civil will be without suspended midfielder Dane Robertson but club captain Neil Campbell returns from a ban.

Watt have Sean Muhsin cup-tied, but Davie Kerr returns to the squad.