Big week for the Lichties as title race becomes tighter

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ARBROATH manager Paul Sheerin believes the next week will be an important one for the Lichties’ title and promotion push.

Three games in the space of seven days will see the Gayfield men face away trips to East Stirlingshire and Clyde before a home game against Stranraer next week.

And Mr Sheerin is hoping the next three games will be just as successful as the last three from which the Maroons took maximum points.

He told HeraldSport: “We have got another three games coming up now starting with East Stirling tomorrow (Saturday) that are just as important as our last ones.

“I stressed how important it was to take points from the last games and we have had a decent return so we have to keep that up.

“And hopefully we can start that with six points from our next two games which will line up a cup final of a game against Stranraer next week.”

After Saturday’s 2-1 win over Berwick Rangers, the Lichties enjoyed a six-point gap at the top of Division Three, but midweek results have meant their lead has now been cut to three points.

And the manager says that is another reason why these next games are important.

He explained: “This league is going to go right down to the wire and with Albion Rovers getting a good result on Tuesday night that has now reduced our cushion.

“That means we can’t just sit back now, we have to keep going because there are a lot of teams desperate to get to the top of the league and into the play-off spots.”

Tomorrow’s game at Ochilview will see Arbroath go in against an East Stirling side that is languishing near the bottom of Division Three.

And even though they have only won on six occasions this season, Mr Sheerin knows it won’t be easy.

He added: “There is no doubt that we will be strong favourites to win this game but it won’t be as easy as that.

“They turned us over 5-3 at Gayfield, so we will be wary of them and we don’t want to get our fingers burnt again.

“I watched them on Tuesday against Annan Athletic and they like to play quite open football like us so there is no doubt there will be goals in the game.”

It looks as though Mr Sheerin will be missing several key players for the next couple of games including Ross Chisholm, Stuart Malcolm and Kieran McAnespie as well as long term injury worry Alan Rattray.

The boss has been changing the team around over the last couple of weeks with more players being given their chance to stake a place in the starting line-up.

And he added that this may be set to continue over the next few games.

He said: “The idea behind changing the team is to rest people rather than just dropping them.

“It is just a case of freshening the team up, but I know every player in the squad is capable of being put in the starting line-up.

“We will probably change it around a bit more tomorrow as it is important players are rested and ready for the run in, and fortunately I have the luxury to do that.

“I probably wouldn’t have played on Saturday against Berwick if it wasn’t for Ross Chisholm having to miss out as I haven’t missed many since early in the season and the old legs are probably needing a rest.”