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Arbroath v Airdrieonians preview

14th March 2014

Gary Bollan says Airdrieonians' clash with bottom-of-the-table Arbroath at Gayfield on Saturday is like "a cup final". 

The Diamonds boss wants his side to bounce back from Wednesday night's 3-0 defeat to Rangers at Ibrox as they battle to avoid relegation from League One.

Paul Sheerin's struggling Smokies have won their last two games and moved to within a point of Airdrie who sit above ninth-placed East Fife on goal difference.

Now all eyes are on a crucial 90 minutes taking place on the windswept north-east coast and Bollan acknowledged how vital this fixture will be.

He said: "Every match at this stage of the season is important but there is a wee bit more emphasis on the game at Arbroath.

"It's a huge one. It's a cup final. But it is one of eight cup finals we have between now and the end of the season. That's how we're treating these games.

"Things won't come easy for us. But I'm confident if the application and commitment of the players is good as it has been for the last couple of months.

"I'm not surprised that it's tight at the bottom with the teams around us. We're more than capable of picking up points but other clubs will be thinking the same. It has all the makings of a good run-in."

On the personnel front, Bollan is likely to select from the same squad which was available for the clash with champions Rangers and gave an update on the fitness of striker John Boyle who is returning from knee ligament damage.

He added: "John played for an hour last week in a reserve game. He's trained on Monday night but felt a wee twinge in his knee. He's worked hard to get to where he is but if he's not 100 per cent then we won't risk him. When he tells me he's ready, that's when he'll come into contention."

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