Spartans boss Dougie Samuel is sweating on the fitness of first-choice goalkeeper Kevin Swain ahead of tonight’s William Hill Scottish Cup fifth-round replay away to Berwick Rangers.
Swain was forced off in the second half of Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat by Vale of Leithen with an eye injury that was later diagnosed as a corneal abrasion. Samuel, whose team are looking to book a quarter-final clash against Hibs at Easter Road, said: “It’s really been a day-by-day assessment as Kevin’s been prescribed antibiotics so it just depends how his body responds to them. We’re in the lap of the gods with that one.”
Swain, meantime, is remaining positive on his chances of playing at Shielfield Park. He said: “I got a scratch that runs right across my right eye and, on Saturday night, I was distraught because I thought I had no chance of playing tonight. It’s a bit scary thinking I wouldn’t get the chance to play in such a big game.
“I managed to get the sight back in it on Sunday night; it was a bit blurry but I’ve been at the doctors and they’ve said I should be okay by the time the game comes around. I’m very hopeful I’ll be fine for the game.
“It’s pain I’ve never felt before, I only managed to open it for the first time on Sunday night.
“Every time I tried to open my eye, it must have been my eye-lid that was aggravating the scratch and it just felt like someone was poking me in the eye with a needle.”
If Swain doesn’t recover sufficiently, Samuel has every confidence in the young understudies at his disposal. Blair Carswell made an assured first-team debut in anaway win against Whitehill back in December, and Samuel has no qualms about throwing him in to an occasion such as tonight’s.
“We’ve got good cover in young Blair and Murray Jackson, who plays with our East of Scotland team – they’re both young goalies who can certainly step in if Swainy doesn’t make it.”
There was good news for Spartans on the injury front, with captain Kevin Sivewright available again following injury.