Boss delighted that Lichties are still leading the pack

ARBROATH manager Paul Sheerin has admitted he is surprised his team have become front runners in Division Three so soon.

After a mixed start to the season, the Lichties are now four points clear at the top of thetable having only lost once in 11 league fixtures.

Saturday saw them pick up a well earned point against an in form Queen’s Park side and on Tuesday night they defeated Annan Athletic, despite finishing the game with only nine men.

And now with a packed fixture schedule looming, Mr Sheerin is grateful for the team’s four-point cushion.

He told HeraldSport: “The teams around us like Stranraer and Albion Rovers have games in hand that will even out over the next couple of weeks so we will probably get a clearer picture of things then.

“With the four points it gives us a bit of a cushion so that if, god forbid, we slip up tomorrow (Saturday) against Clyde, we still remain top and can rectify things on Wednesday against Elgin.

“We can’t really grumble with the position we are in at the minute and I’m just surprised we have got there so soon.

“Even though we are playing a lot I don’t see it as an issue as I prefer matches to training.”

Bottom club Clyde are next up at Gayfield tomorrow and the manager says he could be faced with a selection crisis at the back.

Central defenders Stuart Malcolm and Craig Wedderburn are both suspended after receiving red cards on Tuesday night and Alan Rattray is out injured.

The manager said: “We are going to have to shuffle the pack around tomorrow as we only really have Danny Griffin as a fit centre half.

“We might be able to bring somebody in but we will have to wait and see.

“Jim Duffy, who has just been appointed Clyde boss has certainly freshened things up as they got a great result against Berwick on Tuesday night,

“It often happens when a new manager comes in but we will be remaining confident and hopefully we can pick up another three points.”

After a lacklustre performance against Queen’s Park at Hampden, the Lichties travelled to Annan Athletic on Tuesday night and took maximum points.

However, the clash was marred by Malcolm and Wedderburn both receiving their marching orders but the boss says, unfortunately, both red cards were probably deserved.

He added: “Of course I wasn’t happy they were sent off but they are two big central defenders so when they do catch somebody they tend to get penalised due to the way football is played these days.

“By the letter of the law they probably deserved to go.

“We have had a few red cards lately and it does cost us when we go down to 10 men.

“Red cards like the one Josh Falkingham received at Stranraer frustrate me because it could have been totally avoided but he is young and got caught up in the moment.

“But there is nothing you can really do about the red cards we had on Tuesday night.”

He continued: “But at Annan I saw us getting back to how I know we can play and it was definitely pleasing.

“I was probably a bit too critical of the players after the Queen’s Park game as I was moaning about performance standards again.

“But on reflection we are still picking up points and are on such a good run I can’t really grumble.

“So you have to be delighted that we have taken four points from our last two away games.”