Preview: Airdrieonians vs Raith Rovers
January 11, 2019
Josh Edwards is relishing being back in the Airdrie team - and wants the Diamonds to continue their good form against Raith Rovers this weekend.
The youngster has featured in the side’s last four matches, and after a narrow defeat to League One leaders Arbroath, the Diamonds have notched up three wins on the bounce.
Edwards has enjoyed being part of the impressive run.
“It’s been good to get back in the team after a wee while out. There were times I wasn’t even making it on to the bench, and it’s disappointing to be left out completely.
“It’s nice to get a wee run in the team, and the way we’re playing has helped to get my confidence back up.”
Previously utilised as a full-back, Edwards has been playing in a more advanced role in recent weeks. The move forward paid off last weekend when the 18-year-old played in an inch-perfect cross to set up Leighton McIntosh’s winning goal in the 2-1 victory at East Fife.
Josh has been enjoying his extra responsibilities.
“It’s been good being able to get forward more. There’s a lot more running involved where I’m playing now - I still have defensive duties as well as attacking ones so I have to get up and down the park.
“I think I’ve had more shots on goal in the last three games than I have in my entire career!”
Airdrie aim to make it four wins out of four this weekend, but it will be no easy task as the Diamonds welcome Raith Rovers to the Penny Cars Stadium.
Home fans won’t want to remember the August meeting, when Joao Victoria and Dale Carrick had the Diamonds 2-0 ahead after half an hour. Former Diamond Liam Buchanan pulled one back for Rovers, but Victoria’s second looked to have secured the points with seven minutes remaining. A stunning turnaround saw Raith claim victory, with Kevin Nisbet and two more Buchanan strikes sealing the win late on.
It was a less dramatic victory for the Kirkcaldy men at Stark’s Park in December, with Nisbet and Buchanan scoring without reply despite a decent Diamonds performance.
With nothing to show from the two meetings, Edwards feels he and his team-mates may be required to roll their sleeves up and get stuck in this time round.
“We’re on a good run at the moment. The way we’re playing, I’m expecting us to put in another performance.
“Personally I think we can play well and get the win to keep the run going, but if we have to ‘win ugly', so be it.
“If it turns into a battle, we’ve got the players to pull us through that.”
Ian Murray also points to his side’s momentum ahead of the match.
“Raith’s strong point is their offensive players, but they’ve got a really good balance in their squad.
“We’ll give them the utmost respect, but the match doesn’t hold any fear for us, that’s for sure. We’re on a good run as well.”
Dean Cairns joins long-term absentee Scott Gallacher on the Diamonds injury list, but David Hutton and Ryan Conroy have both resumed full training. Joao Victoria also returns after missing the East Fife tie through illness.
Referee David Munro takes charge of his second Airdrie match this season. The first was the Diamonds’ September defeat at Arbroath.