Second spot the target
22 February 2012
SUBWAY NATIONAL LEAGUE (MEN)
Unless there is a dramatic slump in form by Subway national league leaders Glynhill Kelburne, the next three sides Grange, Western Wildcats and Inverleith will be fighting it out for second spot and a place in Europe next season. Consequently, the clash between the Wildcats, currently third, and second placed Grange at Bellahouston is a crucial contest.
"We know it`s going to be a tough game against Grange, they are well organised and have a good squad of players," admitted Vishal Marwaha, the Wildcats` coach.
Earlier in the season, Grange came out on top by 4-0, the goals coming from Phil Sully, Rob Barr, Matt Connor and Guy Murdoch. "Last time Grange played better in the attacking and defensive areas of the pitch, so we need to minimise their opportunities and capitalise on any chances we create," said Marwaha.
But since then the Wildcats have gone on a seven match unbeaten run, but will be without the injured Andrew Sewnauth at the back while Joe Simpson is suspended.
Grange slipped into second spot last weekend, courtesy of a 4-0 win over VWS Dundee Wanderers and a 3-3 draw with Grove Menzieshill. "Good result against Wanderers, but we were caught out by Menzieshill, and did well to come back to earn a point after being 3-1 down," said Rob Barr, Grange`s captain. "We know we can play a lot better and with another week`s training we will be in better shape for the game against Western."
Barr is under no illusions about the task ahead against Western. "Our games against Western are always tight and difficult to call. After losing to us early in the season Western have been on a great run, so we are expecting a tough challenge.
"We need greater consistency and perhaps more patience in our play to break teams down. We also require to work harder on our defensive shape and be more clinical in front of goal."
Martin Johnstone returns to the Grange squad after a long-term wrist injury, but the Edinburgh side will be missing the influential Gary Cameron through suspension. (Bellahouston at 12.00 hours)
Inverleith should maintain their challenge for honours with an away match against bottom side Dundee Wanderers, a side they beat 5-3 in the first half of the season. But they will have to do it without the services of set piece expert Adam MacKenzie who sustained a double fracture to his hand in the final eight seconds of the game against Lille in the European Indoor Club Trophy. (Riverside Park at 15.00 hours)
Kelburne`s bandwagon is unlikely to be derailed by Greaves Clydesdale whose defence is leaking an average of three goals a game. It was more like an avalanche when the two sides met earlier in the season, the Paisley side scored 12 times with hat-tricks for the Christie brothers, Michael and Jonny.
The bid to avoid the relegation play-off spot is developing into a direct contest between AMN Hillhead and CALA Edinburgh. The Glasgow did themselves a big favour with a 3-2 away victory against CALA last weekend, now have another chance to pick up valuable points at home to Edinburgh University. The latter lost 4-3 to Clydesdale last week, but will have Scotland captain Graham Moodie available again after the finish of the indoor season. (Jordanhill School at 14.25 hours)
CALA travel to Dundee to take on Menzieshill, but their prospects are not good as the Taysiders have yet to lose on their own patch.
On Sunday, Menzieshill may not relish their Arthur McKay Scottish Cup assignment against AAM Gordonians who are top of division two with only a single reversal all season. (Counteswells at 14.00 hours).