Airdrieonians vs Albion Rovers preview

25th March 2016

Chris O'Neil is ready for a massive game against Albion Rovers after being reinstated to the Diamonds starting line-up.

The tough-tackling defender recaptured his favoured right-back slot against Peterhead last weekend, and is hoping to keep the number 2 shirt for Saturday's crunch Monklands derby.

It's been a frustrating season at times for O'Neil, who has made many of his appearances on the left, then had to watch on as loanee David Ferguson claimed the right-back position.

The local lad impressed interim boss Danny Lennon in last week's friendly against FC Edmonton, and was pleased to earn his place back.

"I was really chuffed to get back into the team, it's been a long wait but Fergie has come in and done really well so I had no complaints about not playing. 

"Hopefully I can keep my place for the final six games, but to do that I need to play much better than Saturday and get a bit of form going. 

"It won't be easy because there are always players ready to come in if you slip up, but hopefully I can keep playing."

The trip to form side Peterhead ended in an unfortunate defeat for Airdrie, but O'Neil believes the Diamonds can make up for it this weekend.

"I think that we could have played better on Saturday, but I think that this weekend is a perfect chance to make amends and get a win.

"It's massive. It's going to be a really tough game but I believe we have enough to win."

Stranraer currently occupy fourth spot, four points ahead of the Monklands rivals who are locked on 38 points with a game in hand over the Blues.

As well as providing a vital three points, a win for either side would inflict a huge blow on their rivals as the season draws to a thrilling climax.

Chris knows the importance of the victory, but expects the unexpected in the play-off run in.

"I don't think it's a must win for the play-offs because there will be lots more twists and turns - but I do believe that the game is massive for us and would give us a real boost for the last few games."

Danny Lennon is without Jordan Thompson, who this week extended his loan from Rangers until the end of the season. The midfielder is currently on international duty with Northern Ireland.

Rovers boss Darren Young welcomes midfielder Gary Fisher back from suspension, but Ricardo Talu and Paul Willis are rated doubtful. Striker Andrew Barrowman's season looks to be over due to a calf injury.

Euan Anderson will referee the final Monklands derby of the season.

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