Stirling Albion v East Stirlingshire preview

Shire take on Stirling Albion in Saturday's New Year derby
Shire take on Stirling Albion in Saturday's New Year derby

Shire coach John Coughlin is unlikely to be swayed by reputation when it comes to selecting his side for Saturday’s New Year derby against Stirling Albion at Forthbank.

The experienced striking duo of club captain Kevin Turner and Paul Quinn were unceremoniously dumped from the team that started last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Montrose in favour of on-loan Rangers kid Calum Gallagher and Max Wright, and that might not change for the trip over the Forth.

Gallagher, in particular, caught the eye with an impressive display and Wright showed he was back to his best following a long spell on the sidelines with a troublesome hamstring injury.

With the Ibrox youngster only on loan for a month and in such obviously good form and with Wright showing the pace and dynamism that Shire’s attacks have lacked without him, it seems unlikely much will change for the next match.

Turner and Quinn have struggled for form and goals all season long, although injuries have not helped the talented Quinn’s prospects this term. Nevertheless, Coughlin has stuck by both players as his number one strike team for the majority of the campaign. Now, however, the temptation to try something different has proven too great and, importantly, the alternative strategy clearly worked against Montrose at least.

Defensively, he may well stick with Michael Herd and Scott Maxwell at full-back for the Stirling visit. Maxwell has plenty of experience in that role and has proven adequate cover for Michael McGowan who is now in Australia.

Herd’s strengths have been seen as an attacking midfielder but in his two games as an emergency right-back he has not let anyone down.

Ironically, Coughlin’s switch to an attack-minded formation last weekend seemed to coincide with the loss of some poor goals.