It’s a case of the same old story for manager John Coughlin tonight as he prepares to take on Stirling Albion devoid of any real first-team squad depth.
Coughlin watched on as his under 20 side disposed of Alloa Athletic’s youngsters in SPFL Development League East action last night, but their task was made no easier by the boss’ request that the likes of Barry Hogg and Jordan Orru miss out to fill in for his side in tonight’s game.
Berwick Rangers Team News:
Both Brian Martin and Darren Lavery will miss out with respective suspensions. Martin begins a one game ban having accumulated six yellow cards so far this season, whilst Darren Lavery will also miss our next fixture as he serves a ban for a red picked up in our last league fixture away to Clyde.
Centre-back Robert Wilson is also ruled out, though his absence is down to injury. Wilson will be out for a few weeks as he continues to recover.
Elsewhere, Hibernian have opted not to release Ben Stirling and Sean Mackie for the tie with their own Development Team also in action, adding to Berwick’s woes.
Coughlin admitted that the constant list of absentees has been difficult to work with, but also registered his belief that if and when the ‘Gers get over their run of bad luck and ill-discipine, he is hopeful his side can still turn things around.
“We’re going through a spell just now where we cannot get a team on the park that we can call our strongest. I’m hoping that when we get through that period we’ll be in a much better position.
“In the meantime we need to keep fighting our corner. I watched Stirling play Wick on Saturday and despite a good first-half performance, I felt they had to be grateful to their goalkeeper for a fantastic second-half because he really earned them progression into the next round with some good saves.
“Wick were probably a bit unfortunate but Stirling kept a clean sheet and got through which is something we couldn’t. It’s been tough for the lower league sides – Annan are another who fell victim to an upset and maybe that says a lot for the gap between the seniors and non-leagues now.
“But Stirling got over the line in their game and we need to be wary of that. We’d rather not allow them the chance to have a lead to defend, because they’ll be well up for the game and be out to keep their winning streak going.”
Stirling Albion Team News:
The Binos are bolstered by the return of Angus Beith, the Hearts loanee available once more after missing out of Albion’s Scottish Cup tie at the request of his parent club.
Willie Robertson has been featuring for the side as a trialist and is likely to do so once more, whilst Bryon Hodge should also return after missing the weekend’s clash.
Jack McCue and Moses Olanrewaju are both likely to miss the trip south however due to injury.
The clash will also see Blair Henderson oppose Berwick at Shielfield for the first time since his Summer departure.
Adults – £12
Concessions – £7
Under 16’s can pick up a free season voucher from the main office prior to kick-off.
Despite our poor form, SPFL title-sponsors Ladbrokes believe the ‘Gers can come out of the match with all 3 points, pricing Berwick as favourites.
Berwick Rangers – 23/20
Draw – 12/5
Stirling Albion – 11/5
Gavin Ross will take charge of the clash, and he’ll be assisted by both Jordan Stokoe and David Doig.