Lichties get a second chance to top the league

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ARBROATH manager Paul Sheerin is hoping his players seize their second chance to go top of the Third Division when they travel to Stranraer tomorrow (Saturday).

The Stair Park side, who currently occupy the top spot, are just two points ahead of the Lichties in the table.

After the postponement of Saturday’s game against East Stirlingshire which was then played on Tuesday night, Mr Sheerin’s men have already had the opportunity to climb up the league.

But a 5-3 defeat at Gayfield ending their seven-game unbeaten run meant they were unable to leapfrog The Blues into pole position but could do so tomorrow if they win the top of the table clash.

The manager told HeraldSport he is expecting a tricky encounter but is confident his players can bounce back after Tuesday night’s defeat.

He said: “It will be tough at Stranraer tomorrow as they are a good side.

“I watched them last week and there is no doubt they are a hard working and physical side so it won’t be easy, especially with all the travelling to get down there.

“But we will prepare properly and I can’t see why we can’t go there and get three points.”

Tuesday’s night’s match with East Stirlingshire had been scheduled for Saturday but an early morning inspection deemed the pitch unplayable.

The fixture was quickly re-arranged for Tuesday night, but the visitors took all three points from the game, which saw the two sides share eight goals between them.

Going into the encounter, Arbroath knew a win would have seen them go top but the manager believes that if they want to be challenging for the championship come the end of the season, they have to be able to deal with the pressure and expectation.

He explained: “Maybe the pressure got to us on Tuesday night but you have to learn to handle that sort of pressure.

“I hope it isn’t the case that the occasion got to us but luckily we are still in with another chance at Stranraer tomorrow.

“That makes it a massive game for us on Saturday, especially as they are our main rivals at the top so hopefully we can bounce back.”

Tuesday night’s clash saw Arbroath’s seven-game unbeaten run come to an end but luckily results from Saturday meant they didn’t slip down the league.

But the boss was just hoping it was a minor blip in the continued excellent run of form.

He added: “When you are on a great run, you are aware it will eventually come to an end but it is just unfortunate it happened on Tuesday night when we had the chance to go top.

“We just have to hope that it is a one off and doesn’t harm our chances in the title race.”

With Monday marking the end of the transfer window, Mr Sheerin has only added one new face to his squad, with defender Craig Wedderburn coming in on loan until the end season from Raith Rovers.

Strikers Jim Hamilton and Robbie Ross have both left the club and Jay Shields and Marc McCulloch have also been told they are free to depart.

And the boss revealed it is likely that McCulloch will also leave Gayfield by the beginning of next week.

He said: “It looks as though Marc could be joining Dumbarton on loan until the end of the season.

“He was at their game on Tuesday night with Forfar so it is likely he will go there until the end of the campaign.”