The ‘Gers kick-off their competitive season tomorrow evening (7:45pm KO) at Shielfield Park where we will host Darren Young’s Albion Rovers.
Berwick boss John Coughlin expects a tricky tie, but is looking for his side to maintain a record which sees them unbeaten at home during 2016 in competitive action.
“We’re very proud of our home record and defensive records in 2016. We shipped four to Gateshead but we were much-improved on Saturday, and I’ll be looking for another increase in intensity when we play again tomorrow.
“The unbeaten record is one that we want to cherish. We’ve got some tough games coming up to be fair, but I don’t see why we can’t put together some good performances. We’ll keep doing the things we’ve been doing that have brought us that success at home so far and hope that it can bring us the same rewards.”
Berwick Rangers Team News:
Midfielder Ben Stirling will not play any part in the clash as he continues his recovery from an injury sustained in the ‘Gers opening pre-season friendlies. Fellow Hibernian loanee Sean Mackie will also miss out having been called up to Hibernian’s Development Team.
Youngster Barry Hogg will also be missing as he is unavailable for selection, however Michael McKenna returns having himself been abroad.
Speaking to the club’s official website, Coughlin also revealed that he’ll be utilising development team players to fill the gaps – providing them with an ideal platform to impress at senior level.
“Kyle and Stephen Scott are new signings to us from Penicuik (Athletic). The pair came on in Alloa and did very well from the bench. We’ll also have Kieran Ingram in the squad, who’s been in and around the first-team throughout pre-season. I thought he was outstanding on Sunday in Tranent.
“I’m keen to get the younger lads in the side. We’ve got a lot of players who look as though they have the ability to make the step-up. The opportunities will be there because we’ll have a small first-team squad.
“In part-time football, suspensions and injuries are inevitable but those could be the light at the end of the tunnel for the young boys. From what I’ve seen so far, I’ll be more than happy to include them. We’re bringing them into training now and again and trying to give them as much exposure to the first-team environment as possible.”
Albion Rovers Team News:
Berwick aren’t the only side suffering from an absentee due to a holiday, with Rovers 17 year-old winger Paul Archibald unavailable to make the journey to Tweedmouth.
Striker Ryan Wallace will also miss out, the former Hearts, Dunfermline Athletic and East Fife frontman ruled out through injury. Darren Young will have new addition Ross Stewart available for selection, having signed the 6ft4″ former Celtic, St Mirren and Partick Thistle youth from Kilwinning Rangers this evening.
There are also doubts over defender Kyle Turnbull, formerly of Falkirk. Should Turnbull not make the journey, Young is likely to call upon a member of his Development Team.
There will be one familiar face amongst the Rovers’ ranks, with former ‘Ger Paul Willis returning for the first time since his departure.
Normal admission applies for this match. Please note that season tickets/vouchers do not count for non-league matches.
Adults – £12
Concessions – £7
Cup title sponsors Betfred fancy Albion Rovers to become the first side to beat the ‘Gers in competitive action at Shielfield Park in 2016.
Albion Rovers – 11/10
Draw – 5/2
Berwick Rangers – 23/10
Grant Irvine is the man tasked with controlling the game, and he will be assisted by both Michael Banks and Ryan Lee.
Enjoy the match!