Exclusive: Falkirk manager Paul Sheerin to ring the changes for Kilmarnock cup tie

Falkirk manager Paul Sheerin plans to ring the changes for Saturday’s Challenge Cup second round test at Championship outfit Kilmarnock.

Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 2:47 pm
Paul Sheerin gives instructions during 1-0 defeat to Queen's Park (Pic by Michael Gillen)

Sheerin’s League 1 outfit will start as outsiders to get the better of a Killie side which was relegated from the Scottish Premiership last season.

"Cups are obviously a different dynamic in terms of it’s a one off,” the Bairns boss told the Falkirk Herald. “You are either in it or out it whatever game you play.

"It’s kind of sudden death almost. It’s a different kind of pressure.

"As the season develops you can always pick up three points again, catch them up at some stage, but in cup football you can’t at this stage when it’s knockout football.

"So we know the importance of trying to go there and win the game and make sure we stay in the cup.

"We know that will be difficult as well. Obviously it’s a team that’s recently relegated from the Premier League. Their budget’s not changed, they’ve kept their budget which they have spoken about publicly.

"We know it’s going to be tough but we will give players game minutes who need it which will help from our point of view to keep players topped up as well.

"We’ll use it as we did the last round for that. Players that haven’t played much football, we’ll get them involved again.

"It gives us that grace really this cup competition.”

Falkirk go to Rugby Park on the back of their first league loss this campaign, a 1-0 home reverse against Queen’s Park last Saturday.

“I think we’ve played better this season definitely,” Sheerin said.

"But when you watch it back we did create opportunities that were probably better than I thought going away from the game on Saturday.

"Probably we’ll win games with that performance level in other weeks. It was slightly frustrating but we just need to pick ourselves up and go again which we’ve done for the bulk of the week.

"The mood’s been very good in training. I’ve said from the minute I came in the door that we need to stay on the level as much as we can and don’t get too carried away when we win football matches and likewise when we lose them we won’t get too down about it.

"We just need to work that wee bit harder and make sure we bounce back. The sign of good teams is how quickly they bounce back from defeat.”

Other than long term injury absentee Ryan Williamson, Falkirk go into the Killie game at full strength.

"Big Ryan’s still yet to train,” Sheerin said. “Although he’s upped his running and things and upped his rehab so every day he’s getting a bit closer but still not available to play.”

And Sheerin revealed he’s keen to utilise the loan signing market over the next few weeks as clubs can bring in loanees until the end of September.

He said: “We’re actively doing that, we’re still trying.

"We’ve spoke to certain clubs about certain players but we’ve lost out on them to other clubs that have been Championship as opposed to League 1.

"We have been looking but unfortunately we have not quite managed to get certain ones. We’ll continue to look and the loan market is obviously still open to us so we’ll continue to try and get the right players to the club.

"We’re always looking to improve it in terms of quality in all areas. If someone comes up that’s got more quality than we think that we’ve got in the squad already we can’t ignore that.

"Finding the right ones is proving a bit more difficult than we’d like.”

The Queen’s Park game last weekend was named the Alex Totten Day in tribute to the legendary ex-player and manager of Falkirk who has devoted much of his life to the club and Sheerin praised the 75-year-old.

He added: “I thought it was great seeing Alex leading the teams out before the game and the reception he got was excellent and thoroughly deserved.

"The word legend around clubs gets used too often but I think Alex is worthy of that so I thought it was a good send off for him and I hope he enjoyed his day other than the result.”