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SFL PREVIEW SATURDAY 28TH APRIL 2012

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SFL DIVISION ONE

Game of the Day

For excitement or drama the two teams battling at the wrong end of the table should provide it in Raith Rovers v Queen of the South. If the home side continue their fine form they are mathematically away from tenth but anything else and the result at Somerset becomes significant and there is next week to look forward to. For John McGlynn’s side they have Iain Davidson back and Laurie Ellis out. Gus McPherson has Chris Higgins, Marc McCusker, Craig Reid out and doubts over Nicky Clark and Stephen Simmons. On current form it is hard to see beyond a home win and Queens will be down in the second division next season but this is the side that thumped a table topping Morton 4-1 mid season so whose to know?

Ross County v Hamilton Academical has a party attached to it as the Dingwall side have their final home game of the season to celebrate their historic year. Derek Adams is without Marc Fitzpatrick and David McNamee whilst Rocco Quinn is available. Billy Reid will be missing Ali Crawford, Mark Stewart and Alex Neil might be available. This looks like the Staggies will keep marching towards their 34 game unbeaten target! Unfortunately for the Honest Men Ayr United v Dundee took on significance when it was announced that the beneficiaries of any downfall into the third division by Glasgow Rangers would be whoever managed second place in the first division. That means Dundee could be back in the SPL if the unlikely became likely. Coupled with injuries to a host of players and the need to win more than ever this season Brian Reid has problems. Out are Michael McGowan, Martyn Campbell, Gareth Wardlaw and Jamie McKernon. With Eddie Malone suspended and John Robertson doubtful this could be a tough ask. Barry Smith is not without issues though and will await fitness tests on Stevie Milne, Nicky Riley and Graham Bayne whilst Jamie McCluskey and Neil McGregor are out. Both teams have had their issues in terms of form these last few weeks. Dundee got thumped by Partick last weekend whilst Ayr stuttered to a defeat at New Douglas Park. This is a tough one to call but the omens do not look good at Somerset for Ayr.

Partick Thistle v Falkirk sees Jackie McNamara’s side without Paul Paton and Darren Cole and doubts over Chris Erskine, Aaron Sinclair, Chris Doolan. Kieran Duffie is out for Steven Pressley and Falkirk need a win to put pressure on the Dees. I think they might just get it.  Finally Livingston v Greenock Morton sees another home side struggling with huge injury issues. John Hughes is without Jason Talbot, Liam Fox and Jonathon Brown whilst Iain Russell is a doubt. Allan Moore has added Darren McGeouch and Archie Campbell to the list of injury victims which include Stuart McCaffrey, Iain Flannigan and Paul Di Giacomo. There is a real possibility that Morton could be dragged into the relegation fight if they don’t get at least a point against a team that is playing some highly attractive football. Home win would make things interesting. Morton fans are looking forward to the end of a miserable season and I think they might shade a point here.

SFL DIVISION TWO

Game of the Day

Airdrie United v East Fife throws up yet another fourth placed team against someone who could end up fourth placed team in this division if they win. The run in to the end of the season is the most interesting out of all three divisions in the second so it should be a cracker at the Shyberry Excelsior. Jimmy Boyle is without Ryan Donnelly, Graeme Owens and Ewan McNeil whilst Grant Adam should be fine as well as Sean Lynch for the Diamonds. Gordon Durie has a full strength squad and this could be significant. I would hope for further twists and turns with the Fifers getting a win but my wee soft spot for Airdrie hopes they can manage the victory.

Arbroath v Stenhousemuir has Paul Sheerin’s side assured of a play off spot whilst Stenny need the win to stay in that hunt. Sheerin has Collin Samuel back whilst a few unnamed guys are on the sidelines along with Jordan Elfverson. Davie Irons has Kieran Miller back though Paul McHale is out following a bust up with the manager. Sheerin’s side can relax but the Warriors need a win. That may make it an away victory. Stirling Albion v Dumbarton is a highly significant game as the Sons need the win to cement their play off spot whilst the Binos need the win to stay in the division. A loss for either would be devastating for one but not surprising, whilst a blow for the other but again not surprising either! Greig MacDonald may have to throw in youngster Jamie Cleland as regular keeper Sam Filler is injured and back up keeper, Callum Reidford is out; Gary Thom is doubtful. Alan Adamson is without Mark Lamont and Ryan Finnie. Next weekend Stirling Albion will travel to Albion Rovers and if they win today this could be an absolute cracker. It could also make Dumbarton’s fans head for the pharmacy as the nerves would begin to really jangle. This is a huge ask for Stirling considering their recent form and I would be surprised should it happen.

Brechin City v Cowdenbeath is a game that Brechin needs to win to keep clear of the wrong play off battle. Jim Weir is without Gerry McLauchlan, David McClune and Paul McManus. Colin Cameron is out himself though David Cowan and Lewis Coult are back and doubts hang over Greg Stewart and Jon Robertson. Cameron wants no let up but the visit to Glebe Park could be a tricky tie. I would go for a home win and Brechin to be safe. Finally this is a game that would have been the game of the day had the battle for fourth not have been so hot! Forfar Athletic v Albion Rovers is eighth v ninth. Dick Campbell has Iain Campbell back but fitness tests due on Jamie Bishop, Mark McCulloch and Kevin Byers as well as a mystery couple that Campbell won’t reveal! Paul Martin has Alan Reid out, John Gemmell is doubtful and Jack Werndly is back. It is in Albion Rover’s hands and a win would condemn Forfar to at least the play offs. It’s a difficult one to call and if the Binos also win it could be a tricky afternoon for the Loons. I would like to see a home win but I think Albion Rovers may be celebrating at the end of the day.

SFL DIVISION THREE

Game of the Day

Annan Athletic v Peterhead has fourth placed Elgin City having one eye on this game. Annan need the win to stay in the hunt whilst Peterhead have an outside chance if Elgin melt. Harry Cairney is without Ben McKenna and serious doubts over Craig Summersgill, Aaron Muirhead, Peter Watson, John MacBeth, Steven Sloan and Graeme Bell. Jim McInally is without Davie Ross and Paul Jarvie whilst Roy McBain is back. Both could be in the play off mix if they win and Elgin stumble so plenty to play for. Another win for the underdogs would make things more interesting if other results help out. I think it will be a home win for Annan.

Clyde v Alloa Athletic has the Champions away at the Bully Wee and Jim Duffy has Paul Hay back but Kieran Brannan, Jack Sloss, Brian McQueen, Iain Gray and Daniel Fitzpatrick are out. Alloa, like many Champions this year, have another full strength squad from which to choose and Hartley is looking to win all available games this season. Clyde have not had a great season at all and with their selection problems I cannot see how they can beat the Champions this weekend. Queens Park v Stranraer will give us a glimpse of one of the play off semi finals. Keith Knox has Martin Grehan, Stuart McColm and Steven Noble back; Sean Winter, Stephen Stirling and David MacGregor are doubts. Gardner Speirs might be missing Ian Watt and David Murray and have added in Michael Daly just in case. It is second versus third which adds spice as well as the play off spots being assured it could be a game of chess or a cracker. A draw for me…

Elgin City v Montrose has Elgin needing the win to retain fourth spot and not depend on results elsewhere whilst Montrose have little to play for. Ross Jack is without Ross O’Donoghue, Daniel Moore and Paul Kaczan whilst Zander Clark returns. Montrose are on a bit of a run but Ray Farningham will be without

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About Author

A lifelong supporter, since seeing Alex Ferguson play for them, of Ayr United he now contributes here, at KickTalk and Ringside Reports for things sporty. He is also a theatrical type and an educationalist. As an Ayr fan he clearly can explain the inexplicable, place fanatical faith in the most fantastic of dreams and deal with dark periods of depression and disappointment. Perfect as a teacher..

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