Defeat unthinkable says Lichties’ boss

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ARBROATH’S title aspirations could hinge on tomorrow’s (Saturday) top of the table clash with Cowdenbeath.

The Blue Brazil are four points clear of the Lichties and Gayfield gaffer Paul Sheerin says his troops cannot afford to lose at this crucial stage of the season.

A draw at Brechin on Tuesday evening, coupled with a Cowden’ win over Albion Rovers, means the gap between the two teams has widened.

And the boss told HeraldSport it is important his team keep the pressure on the league leaders.

He said: “It is vital we don’t lose tomorrow. If we do we will be facing a real uphill struggle to win the title.

“Hopefully we have enough now to keep within the play-offs but we are still in a right good position to challenge.

“Probably the pressure will be on them more as they will be wanting to go seven points clear but we will both be desperate for the three points.

“But as well we still have to remember that there is still a lot of football to be played before the end of the season.”

The Lichties will be without captain Stuart Malcolm who will miss out through suspension, while a last minute decision will be made on Beau Busch.

Saturday’s huge clash will be followed by another midweek fixture at Gayfield on Wednesday evening for another Angus derby against Forfar.

But Mr Sheerin is hopeful his players can cope with the punishing schedule of playing five games in two weeks.

He added: “Playing Tuesday this week has obviously given us a little longer to recover.

“It is demanding, especially as the squad is so tight now and we have a couple on the verge of suspension.

“Josh (Falkingham) reached his sixth booking on Tuesday so he will have to miss out in the next couple of weeks.”

Not only have the past two back to back derby games away from home given the Lichties four points out of a possible six, it has also given the boss the opportunity to cast his eye over his new signings.

And on the whole he has been impressed with new boys Collin Samuel and Chris Innes.

The manager explained: “The thing with Sammy is that he just needs to get fit and get back into a good condition.

“He has managed two goals in the two games he has started so that isn’t a bad return.

“With Chris, he was kind of thrown in at the deep end on Saturday against Forfar as Beau (Busch) pulled up during the warm up.

“But he played like he hadn’t even been away from football as his fitness was up there.

“I also have to say though as well that Malky (Stuart Malcolm) has been excellent lately and he will be a big miss on Saturday.”

With the games coming thick and fast over the next few weeks, Arbroath can take comfort from the fact four out of the next five games will be at Gayfield, where they are unbeaten in the league this season.

Twitter: @JenniferNewton1