Gary Naysmith bemoans lack of support as he pins hope on young Citizens

Edinburgh City boss Gary Naysmith will again be forced to rely on youth as his side welcomes Albion Rovers to Ainslie Park on Sunday afternoon.

Edinburgh City manager Gary Naysmith has a huge injury list to contend with
Edinburgh City manager Gary Naysmith has a huge injury list to contend with

The Citizens squad has been decimated by injury this season, a situation that the former Hearts and Everton full-back himself admitted is the worst he has encountered in more than 25 years of professional football.

Although City went on to register a 2-1 win over Cowdenbeath last Wednesday, a formal request to the SPFL to have the game postponed – due to Covid and injury – was rejected.

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And the club is not looking much healthier more than a week on as the hosts look to exact revenge for a 4-0 drubbing by Albion at the beginning of November.

“We had eight players with us at Central Park last week who began the season with our under-20s,” said Naysmith. “Four of the boys started the game so the result was an excellent one for us.

“I calculated that the average age of our 17-man squad that night was 20.7, which is astonishing for this level of football. We’ve been down to the bare bones a few times this season, but nothing on that level.

“I fully expected them to make mistakes, but I wanted them to give us energy and enthusiasm and they certainly did that.

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“When we knew the game was going to go ahead, I had to ask some of the lads with the less serious injuries to try to play through it, and that shouldn’t need to happen.

“Unbelievably, our football club is being punished for having an under-20s team. We were told that, because we have got one, we had to fulfil the fixture. That's a shocking state of affairs.

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“We want an under-20s team so we can give young footballers a chance and a pathway to professional football, but if we didn't have one, we would get more help from the league. How can that be right?”

Naysmith is wary of the threat Rovers will pose as the Capital outfit look to consolidate on fourth place.

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He said: “Brian [Reid] is doing a fine job and they are a difficult team to play against as they showed when they beat us here 4-0 earlier in the season.”