Play-offs are now the top priority

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ARBROATH manager Paul Sheerin says his main focus now is the play-offs despite two league matches still to play.

With Cowdenbeath being crowned champions of Division Two on Saturday and second place assured for the Lichties, they now know their only hope for promotion will be through the play-offs.

And as the Gayfield men wait to find out who they will face in the first round of the extra matches, the manager says the next two fixtures will be a case of making sure the right players are fit and ready to face the play-offs.

He told HeraldSport: “It is in black and white now that we are in the play-offs and we know exactly that we will be finishing in second place.

“It might be a case of resting players now but we need to strike that balance as we still have two league games to play.

“Our main focus is the play-offs because we aren’t going to finish any lower than second now.

“We know that the second leg of the first game will be at our place so hopefully we can get a decent crowd and try and make it through to the final.”

With Dumbarton sitting in third place, four points ahead of Airdrie, a win for the Sons would mean setting up a play-off tie with the Lichties.

But Mr Sheerin says the team can be confident if that is the case.

He said: “We have played them four times already this season so we know what to expect.

“Hopefully if we can get through that and into the final. We could possibly be playing a First Division team so we’ve had Ayr United, Queen of the South and Raith Rovers watched.

“But we have to get through the first game first.”

And the Lichties also have to get through their remaining league fixtures which includes a clash with Stenhousemuir at Gayfield tomorrow (Saturday).

The Warriors are also hoping they will be involved in the end of season play-offs and the boss believes they will be going all out tomorrow to achieve this.

He explained: “It is another tough game and obviously the result will be vital in who claims the last play-off places.

“They have something to play for, and it is certainly a bigger game for them than it is for us.”

Chris Innes picked up a knock in Saturday’s draw against Albion Rovers, but the boss believes he should recover in time to be in contention for tomorrow’s game.

However, he did say any players that are looking touch and go will not be risked.

With the season drawing to a close, most clubs across Scotland will be starting to turn their attentions to the new campaign.

But with it still to be decided which division they will be playing their football in, Mr Sheerin says planning for the new term is difficult.

He said: “It definitely becomes more difficult having these extra games but hopefully we can be in the First Division next season.

“We do have ideas about different players who we would like to bring in and we are looking but the not knowing makes it difficult.

“But we just have deal with it as best we can.

“We haven’t spoken about budgets or anything yet so we will have to wait for that to be decided before going any further with players.”

Twitter: @JenniferNewton1