Preview: Airdrieonians vs Albion Rovers
April 12, 2018
Airdrie face a selection headache ahead of Saturday's derby clash with Albion Rovers - but Kieran MacDonald says whoever pulls on the Diamond will go out with a winning attitude.
Stephen Findlay confirmed he could be without as many as TEN first-team players ahead of the Monklands derby, with Scott Stewart (back) and Lee Kilday (ankle) likely to join Darryl Duffy (rib) and Dan Higgins (hamstring) on the sidelines.
Sean McIntosh (foot) and Willie Muir (back) are also doubtful but will be given every chance to make the squad.
Jordan McGregor and Dean Cairns have crossed the yellow card threshold and will miss out through suspension alongside Luke Watt and Chris O'Neil who received red cards in the Diamonds' last two fixtures.
Full-back MacDonald is pleased that the pressure is off the side ahead of Saturday's match.
"Where we were in the table, our only aim recently has been to make sure we didn't get dragged into the relegation fight.
"We knew we were good enough to stay in this league and we've always been looking above. Although it was mathematically possible, we were never worried about getting pulled into it."
Airdrie's players knew a point last week would be enough to secure their League One status, but results elsewhere meant that the 2-1 defeat to league leaders Ayr became irrelevant.
Although disappointed by the result, MacDonald was encouraged by the Diamonds performance.
"First half, I thought we were brilliant. Ayr are probably the best team in the league as their position shows, so it was always going to be difficult to maintain that across the 90 minutes, but the performance gives us confidence even if there are going to be a few changes!"
MacDonald and his team-mates may no longer need to worry about relegation, but that's not the case for Saturday's opponents Albion Rovers who currently sit in ninth place, level on points with bottom side Queen's Park and seven point behind Forfar in eight.
Kieran would be sad to see Rovers relegated.
"Losing the derby matches would be disappointment as far as the fans are concerned - especially at Cliftonhill. We've seen some great scenes there recently with late winners and the fans spilling onto the pitch - for me that's what football's all about.
"Having said that, three points on Saturday is the main thing for us, and we're confident we can go and get them. There are boys in the dressing room desperate to play, so this is a chance for them to show what they can do."
Manager Stephen Findlay wants to see more quality from his side.
"I think if you look at the way we moved the ball in the first half against Ayr, if we can do that for longer periods against Albion Rovers we'll cause them real problems.
"Regardless of anything else, it's important that we get the win on Saturday and that's all I'm focussed on."
Referee Mike Roncone was in charge of Airdrie's second game of the season, a 2-0 Betfred Cup defeat at Livingston.