Preview: Forfar Athletic vs Airdrieonians
August 2, 2018
Joao Victoria was thrilled to open his Airdrie account in the final Betfred Cup match against Hamilton, and the Portuguese forward is raring to go as the Ladbrokes League One season gets underway at Forfar.
Striker Victoria made an impressive start to his Diamonds career, bagging the first goal of pre-season against Gala Fairydean Rovers. The 29-year-old was then sidelined with a niggling injury as the Diamonds got into the Betfred action, but finally made his competitive debut with a game-changing cameo from the bench at New Douglas Park.
Explaining his injury, Joao told airdriefc.com: “I had a wee groin problem. It was nothing serious, so it’s getting better now.
“It felt great to get started on Saturday - I was just happy that I was able help the team. Coming on and scoring a goal to earn a point is a great feeling.”
With Airdrie finishing second in Group F but failing to qualify for the knockout stages, attention now turns to Ladbrokes League One season, which opens on Saturday with a trip to Forfar Athletic’s Station Park.
Victoria is keen to get the campaign underway.
“I can’t wait. We’re all looking forward to the league games starting.
“Hopefully I can get some games and score more goals!
Playing with Albion Rovers last season, Victoria was involved in a relegation battle against Forfar, which the Angus side ultimately won.
Jim Weir’s men have made some impressive signings over the close season, former Diamonds Willie Muir and John Baird among them.
Nevertheless, the trip holds no fear for Joao.
“The way we’re playing now, I’m confident that we can win any game.
“We have to respect our opponents, but hopefully we’ll come away with a win. I’m confident we can do that.”
Boss Stephen Findlay expects a tough opening encounter, but is pleased with how his squad are performing.
“We’re looking forward to it after a good pre-season and a good Betfred Cup campaign.
“I have every confidence in this bunch of players, and although going to Forfar is always a difficult tie, we’ll go there full of enthusiasm and hopefully we’ll get the result that we’re all looking for.”
Although an entire close season has fallen in between, this is actually the second of back-to-back league meetings between the sides. Forfar visited Airdrie on the final day of last season, with the Loons running out 2-1 winners on that occasion. Greg Hurst and Mark Millar scored the Forfar goals either side of a Ryan Conroy penalty. Kieran MacDonald was red-carded for the Diamonds, meaning the defender misses Saturday’s trip through suspension.
Graham Beaton is the referee for the Ladbrokes League One curtain-raiser.
Saturday August 4, 2018
Station Park, Forfar
Refereee: Graham Beaton
Assistants: Graham Chambers, Robert Thomson