Warriors have to be on top form

McKeown previews match

By ARTHUR MCTAGUE

WITH Firs Park unplayable last Saturday and again on Tuesday night for the rearranged derby against Shire, Des McKeown's Warriors will be hoping the weather is kind this week when Arbroath visit Ochilview.

Since John McGlashan took over as player/manager after the start of the season, the Gayfielder's have improved immensely and the Warriors will have to be on top of their game to maintain the nine points advantage at the league's summit.

It took a last minute goal from Paul McGrillen to grab a point in Angus in September and, as recently as January 14, the Warriors went down by the odd goal in five at Gayfield.

In between, Colin Cramb and Jim Mercer, with a goal in each half without reply, secured the points for 'Muir in October, but they proved to be a difficult nut to crack even then.

"Arbroath have got themselves in the mix for the play-offs and are a decent team," Warriors boss McKeown said.

"They have also had some decent results lately and we will have to be at our best to get anything."

Despite Cowdenbeath and Berwick having games in hand, the Ochilview outfit have a healthy lead as they go full pelt for the club's first ever championship and McKeown was disappointed the Shire game fell foul of the weather.

"Irrespective of who it was, we would like to have played the game," McKeown continued.

"On the back of our last two wins over Albion Rovers, it would have been good to keep the momentum going had we been lucky enough to win.

"If we can keep on winning games then our challengers have to win their's and it would be interesting to see how they coped with the pressure.

"Having had to fight hard for our wins over Albion Rovers, we know other clubs will make things as difficult as they can when they play the team at the top of the league and Arbroath will be no different.

"Nevertheless, if we can return the same amount of points in the last quarter as we have done in the previous three, we know we won't be far away and we will be endeavouring to get three points on Saturday."

Long term injury victim Lee Collins is still missing and Robbie Henderson has a slight hamstring problem.

"We will wait to nearer the game before making any decisions," the manager went on.

"Joe McAlpine is suspended, but apart from that we will have a full squad to choose from."

The boss will also have defender John McKeown available after the former Cowdenbeath player was called back from Cumnock Juniors for the Albion Rovers games.

"John was on a delayed transfer and we wanted him to get games," McKeown added.

"I am delighted he came in for those and did well.

"If things don't work out he could still go back to Cumnock, but it's now up to him to keep his place."

The Warriors trained last Saturday and Tuesday after the call-offs and will do so again tonight (Thursday) as they continue to strive for a place in football's history books.

East Stirlingshire and Stenhousemuir's game, scheduled for last week, will now go ahead on Tuesday week, March 21, and the kick-off will be at 7.30 p.m.