‘You better believe they’ve worked hard’

Pic Lisa McPhillips 19/10/2013'Scottish Championship, Falkirk FC v Dumbarton FC'Falkirk Manager Gary Holt
Pic Lisa McPhillips 19/10/2013'Scottish Championship, Falkirk FC v Dumbarton FC'Falkirk Manager Gary Holt
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Falkirk head for league leaders Hamilton on Saturday without frontman Phillip Roberts.

The striker was sent off for two bookable - and avoidable - offences during last week’s defeat to Dumbarton.

And as disappointing as it was to take no points from the match after peoppering Jamie Ewings’ goal throughout the second half, Gary Holt was a picture of calm when he met The Falkirk herald this week to preview the match.

“It’s one defeat in five - yes Dumbarton was disappointing to lose - but the players gave their all.

“When I don’t have that effort from the players - then we will have a problem, but the second-half performance showed me their commitment - it just didn’t go for us.

“If we go on a run and lose only once in our next five - I’d be satisfied with that. Don’t get me wrong I’d like to win every game but going on these runs are what make sides successful in this league, and putting them together - as every team has seen - is a difficult thing to do.”

Fans showed disquiet when coupling the 2-1 loss to the previous week’s 0-0 stalemate at Alloa - another part-time club. The manager said he is aware there might still be work to do in some areas.

“It might be a mental thing, and it’s something for us as a staff to get to the bottom of. We’ll be working on some aspects which we’ve picked up on when we’ve dropped points to teams with smaller squads than our own.

“It was disappointing on Saturday - particularly in defence - but we’ve worked to rectify them. Make no mistake about it - we’ve worked them, and worked them hard.”

That punishing schedule, he hopes, will bear fruit on Saturday at new Douglas Park where the Bairns have fared well in recent times. However they are shorthanded by Roberts’ enforced omission, but Holt insisted it wasn’t a ‘selection problem’.

“I say it often - it’s a chance for someone else. There are strikers in the under-20s like Lewis Small and Scott Shepherd, and Rakish Bingham did well on Saturday.

“Phil showed frustration and it’s something that he has to take out of his game - but we must be careful not to let that affect him. It’s all about teaching him to channel his frustrations properly and hoepfully we can see less of the cards and more of the goals like the one he scored.

“I’m not one for statistics so don’t pay much attention to our previous records at grounds and stuff like that - people said we rarely do well at Starks Park yet we took a point there this season.”

Olumide Durojaiye continues to work through his rahbilitation from a broken foot, while David McCracken’s hamstring problem may rule him out. Jonny Flynn was substituted at half-time in last week’s match and will be assessed once swelling and bruising has gone down on his ankle.