Lichties’ boss plans to close the gap on league leaders

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ARBROATH manager Paul Sheerin believes his side must pick up three points at Dumbarton on Monday after falling behind league leaders Cowdenbeath in the Second Division table.

The Lichties were neck and neck with the Fife side until Boxing Day when Cowdenbeath recorded a win while the Gayfield men’s match with Stirling Albion was abandoned after 18 minutes due to strong winds.

There is now three points in it at the top of the table, with it looking as though the abandoned fixture will not be replayed until March.

And with the Lichties in New Year action on Monday, Mr Sheerin is demanding a win so his side don’t fall further behind the Blue Brazil.

He told HeraldSport: “You would rather have points on the board and now Cowdenbeath are top in their own right rather than on goal difference.

“We will always be playing catch up and it could become a concern if a bigger gap begins to open up.

“Going top with three points will have given them a huge boost but we will keep winning games and chase them.

“You don’t want to be going six points behind as there is always that added pressure so it is vital we take something from the game.”

In their last two encounters, Arbroath and Dumbarton have played out seven goal thrillers with the Lichties winning both games 4-3.

And the boss says it could be a very open game.

He added: “There is every chance it could be another high scoring game as they are a good side and look good going forward and play some nice football.

“It’s another game that we really need to win to keep that gap as tight as possible before there becomes too much added pressure so we really need to pick up three points.

“Hopefully we will have Josh back who missed Monday due to injury but it might be too early for Jordan Elfverson who is also injured.”

When the Lichties face Dumbarton on Monday, it will have been three weeks since they last took to the field.

Their Boxing Day clash was called off after almost 20 minutes when the wind became too strong.

And even though it was a difficult decision for the referee, the manager believes it was the right one.

He said: “The referee spoke to both managers before the game and it was actually us that pushed for it to be on as the wind wasn’t too bad.

“But within an hour of doing that it just got worse and if it had gone on any longer, it would have just been farcical.

“It is frustrating for the fans but it was the right decision.”

However, the club will be hoping for much calmer conditions next weekend, when Arbroath’s cup tie with SPL champions Rangers takes place at Gayfield.

Preparations for the game on January 8, which is being televised live on Sky Sports, are well underway and tickets are almost sold out.

Although Mr Sheerin says all of the players are focused on getting the right result at Dumbarton on Monday, attention is starting to turn to taking on Ally McCoist’s men.

And the boss says he has started doing his homework on the Ibrox side.

He explained: “From a management point of view we have to see what they are all about to give ourselves a chance.

“We were hoping to get to their game on Wednesday against Celtic but due to it being an Old Firm derby and ticketing arrangements we couldn’t so watched it on TV.

“We also watched them against St Mirren so we will have a fair idea of what they are about.”