Home games are ‘must win’ in title race says Lichties’ boss

editorial image

ARBROATH’S four remaining home games will be vital in the title run in according to manager Paul Sheerin.

With the Lichties six points clear at the top of Division Three, taking maximum points from the four remaining fixtures at Gayfield would certainly boost their chances of winning the league championship at the end of the season.

And the manager is hopeful their home run will continue tomorrow (Saturday) when they face fellow contenders Stranraer.

He told HeraldSport: “If you win your home games, you are certainly giving yourself a chance so it is important we pick up the right results at home.

“With the position we are in, it is probably more important other teams around us don’t lose as there is more danger they will lose their positions whereas if we only draw, it doesn’t affect our position too much.

“Although I’d much prefer we pick up three points and extend our lead at the top.”

Tomorrow’s opponents Stranraer are now 10 points behind the Lichties in fourth place after a series of disappointing results in recent weeks.

But despite the Stair Park men’s erratic form recently, Mr Sheerin believes it is still going to be a huge match.

He added: “It is still going to be a massive game for both teams because the right result for Stranraer could see them come right back into the mix.

“But a good result for us will help us stretch our lead and make our gap even wider.

“Now we have eight games left, it is looking like we have eight cup finals that we have to win.

“And tomorrow will be tough because after the past three weeks Stranraer have had, they will probably want to come to our place to right their wrongs.”

The manager could be facing a selection headache in defence with several key players missing.

Both Stuart Malcolm and Alan Rattray are definitely out injured and Craig Wedderburn and Darran Thomson are unavailable due to suspension.

Kieran McAnespie is also doubtful as is midfielder Keith Gibson.

But the boss says he is not too worried about the number of players who will be missing tomorrow.

He explained: “We have got a few out which is unfortunate but we have a good squad here to provide enough cover for injuries and suspensions.

“And it give those coming in to replace them an opportunity to stake their place in the starting line-up.”

Arbroath could have been resting on an eight-point cushion at the top of the table if they had overcome bottom club Clyde at Broadwood on Wednesday night.

But after having to settle for a point, Mr Sheerin says he still can’t grumble about the result.

He said: “Away from home I thought a point was a fair result even though some may look on it as top against bottom and think we should have taken three points.

“But we knew it was going to be tough given that Jim Duffy has just come into the club.

“It was an enjoyable game of football to play in and overall I am happy with the point, as we are still six clear with a game in hand.

“We are still on a brilliant run at the moment and hopefully we can keep that going come Saturday.”

However, an incident late on in the game saw Darran Thomson receive his marching orders for a late tackle, which has ruled himself out of tomorrow’s clash.

Mr Sheerin concluded: “I don’t think it was a sending off, and it was a bit rash. I think it was only a yellow at the most.”