Vital stage of the campaign ahead for Lichties

ARBROATH manager Paul Sheerin says every game is now becoming bigger and bigger as the Lichties enter the final part of the season.

His team have now dropped to second in Division Three after Stranraer gained three points against Clyde on Tuesday night meaning they must win against Annan Athletic tomorrow (Saturday) at Gayfield if they want to claim back the top spot.

And with a packed fixture schedule and so many teams still in with a chance of gaining a play-off place, Mr Sheerin believes the Lichties are about to enter the most pivotal part of the season.

He told HeraldSport: “There are plenty of teams still in the mix at the top so every game is just getting bigger and bigger for us.

“We are about to get to that vital stage where each game becomes equally as important as the last one and with everybody in with a chance of a play off spot, except maybe Clyde, it is probably the most exciting league in Scotland.

“We have got three huge games coming up with Annan tomorrow and then Albion Rovers away on Tuesday night before Berwick back at home next Saturday so they don’t come any bigger.”

Arbroath slipped to only their second defeat in 13 games on Saturday at Elgin after going down 3-2.

But luckily they didn’t fall too far behind other contenders Stranraer and Albion Rovers, as they also suffered losses.

And with both of the Lichties’ nearest rivals facing each other tomorrow, the boss knows they have to be quick to turn around their disappointment.

He explained: “It is important that we don’t rely on other results and we have to take care of ourselves.

“We have to bounce back as quickly as possible because the last time we lost two in a row was early in the season and we don’t want to have too much to catch up on.”

Tomorrow’s opponents Annan Athletic have already beaten the Gayfield men at home this season but they picked up an important win against them at Galabank last month.

But Mr Sheerin says the players are fully aware of what Harry Cairney’s men are capable of doing.

He added: “Annan are a well organised side with a talented front line so we know it is going to be tough.

“We went down there recently and after a slow first half we picked up in the second half even though we went down to nine men and got a good result.

“Their championship hopes probably took a dent on Tuesday night after losing but they still have a shot of a play-off place so they will be up for it.

“Stuart Malcolm will miss out tomorrow as he is serving the last game of his ban.

“And it looks as though we will be missing Alan Rattray for a while as he may need surgery on his cruciate ligament.”

On Tuesday night, the Lichties will make the long trip to Coatbridge to face Albion Rovers but despite having to clear the backlog of games, the manager is grateful that they can use it to build momentum.

He concluded: “We knew we were going to have this backlog to catch up on but it is good as we want the games to just keep on coming.

“It could be a top of the table clash against Albion Rovers on Tuesday but like I said they are all big games now.”