This weekend all three of my picks in the lower leagues have massive games. The pressure that has mounted comes after the first casualty and swift appointment of the season at Berwick Rangers. Colin Cameron has gone and with lightening haste, John Coughlin is now in post as the new and returning manager of Berwick Rangers. With pressure evident at the Cheaper Direct Insurance Stadium (Dumbarton) and Broadwood both Steven Aitken and Barry Ferguson have games this weekend which could determine their continued relationships with their respective clubs.
When do we move?
At Dumbarton one of the things that seems to have gone quiet is the proposed stadium move. Now this is not unusual. The development of plans, approval from committees and the structuring of finance are easy and trite phrases but massive and important tasks that can take several months to complete. That Dumbarton have already moved from Boghead to their shiny new one stand edifice in the shadow of the Rock means they know how to flit but many questioned the wisdom of only giving a one sided view to the game.
It is the anniversary today – 7th November – of the plans being put on display to fans at the stadium. There has been a huge positive response from the fans and also from local residents to the proposed new site at Young’s Farm to the west of Dumbarton. Slightly more exciting is the thought of 3,000 seats and 1,000 terraces spaces which would allow them to take advantage of bigger travelling supports than they can at present.
The space being used for more pitches for community use and training could deliver great dividends for the club in terms of revenue but that is in the distant future whilst a trip to Queen of the South this afternoon is slap bang in the present. Whilst there is no Scott Taggart, Frazer Wright or Steven Craig, Aitken claims a positive attitude shall see them through.
Win, lose or draw we can stay where we are…
Having seen Albion Rovers last weekend sneak a point against Airdrie, the fans will be hoping that they can continue the luck which sees them sitting 3rd. They seemed a very compact side last weekend though were making the wrong decisions in the final third.
In this league they need to make sure they don’t give away cheap goals and defensively they did seem strong whilst in midfield, getting that ball up top appeared to be a little beyond them at times. They depended on a counter attack when Airdrie’s thrusts forward fell apart.
Their small squad also took a blow when John Gemmell got a straight red for allegedly kicking out at a player. In the press box, we had thought that the referee had indicated an elbow but apparently it was for kicking out. As there has been no appeal it must be thought to be a worthless exercise though the loss of any revenue if they failed would be a hammer blow to a club like the Wee Rovers.
As Gemmell did not start last weekend of course it is a limited curse and player/manager Darren Young might mix things up a bit this afternoon. He has fielded a settled side when they were winning, it’s going to be interesting to see if he picks himself after they drew last time out.
Callum McRobbie is the only other absentee but even if they lose today to Cowdenbeath they will still stay still in the playoffs so the loss of any player for this game has been minimised by circumstances.
Can we move in the right direction…?
Over at Clyde the Barry Ferguson experience looks like drawing more criticism than admiring glances now from the Bully Wee faithful. I caught up with the Clyde captain, Scott McLaughlin this week and he was confident that the squad they had would kick on and turn things round. For the fans that has to be soon.
Their loss to Stirling Albion was sore, away to Formartine was a travesty whilst a draw against Queen’s Park last weekend has hardly quietened the dissent. In my podcast preview last weekend I pointed out that, despite some recent adverse results for Clyde, a win for the Bully Wee and some luck could see them sit 2nd in the league at quarter to five last Saturday. That is how ridiculously tight this league happens to be.
That second place was given over to their visitors today, Montrose, and there has to be the start of a two home game sequence that has 6 points as a must for the home side. Anything less would be unacceptable for a club, squad and fans that had pretensions, pre season, of winning the title. Montrose fell out the Scottish Cup this week to Hutchison Vale Lothian Thistle so they also have a point to prove this afternoon. It is another fascinating contest in a very competitive league so let’s hope that Clyde can get the result, kick on and be in a playoff slot come mid November – it’s all they are asking…