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  Airdrieonians vs Stranraer 17th July 2017  
 
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Club captain Marc Fitzpatrick says it's business as usual for the Diamonds squad as they prepare to face Stranraer in their Betfred Cup Group H opener.

Airdrie welcome the Blues to New Broomfield after a free weekend in which their opponents went down 4-1 at home to St Mirren.

Fitzpatrick can't wait to lead the side out for the first time since November, having completed a lengthy rehabilitation programme following cruciate ligament damage.

"My knee's fine now, it was a bit sore in the first week or so when I came back, but I think it was just a case of getting used to it again.

"Week on week it's progressing great, and we don't see any issues with it now."

Having come through pre-season unscathed, Fitzpatrick says the players have been getting on with the preparations amid some backroom upheaval and speculation.

"I wouldn't say that's made things difficult for us - as players we just do our job and come in to train as normal. It's been settled enough with Donald (Jennow) and Gordon (Dalziel), everybody knows everybody.

"As players we can't affect what's going on behind the scenes, so we just get our heads down and get on with it."

With an important campaign looming for the Diamonds, tomorrow's cup match against Stranraer gives the side an early insight on one of their League One opponents.

Fitzpatrick is looking forward to seeing how the squads measure up.

"Stranraer will be strong this season, they've signed quite well, so it'll be a hard game for us and it will give us a rough idea of what lies ahead.

"But I think this early on in the season there can still be a lot of changes to be made, so we're just expecting a tough game and to see how we do against a good side in our league."

Looking at Group H overall, Marc expects a tough workout ahead of the league season - but insists that doesn't mean the Diamonds won't be aiming to win every game.

"When you look at the teams in our group, you would do very well to finish first. Our main priority is the league, but we're not going to go into these games and not try our best to get the points.

"I think if we went out of the cup the fans wouldn't be overly concerned, it's all about the league and if we can use these games to get fitness up and get a wee bit of spirit about the team it would be beneficial. Only good performances and results will do that."

Assistant Manager Donald Jennow has been pleased with the application of the squad ahead of the big kick-off.

"Credit's got to go to the players. Obviously there's been certain things going on around the club, but the players have come in and responded professionally. They've worked hard and they're taking on board the things that we're telling them.

"Some of these guys are young and inexperienced, but they've got a massive opportunity at this point in time and it's up to them to take it."

Referee Gavin Duncan is in charge of the Group H tie. Kick off at New Broomfield is at 7:45pm.

 


 
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