Preview: Airdrieonians vs Arbroath

December 14, 2018

Ryan Conroy is confident that the Diamonds have what it takes to end Arbroath’s unbeaten record.

 

The experienced midfielder is back in the Airdrie side after a few weeks on the sidelines, and is looking forward to welcoming the league leaders to the Penny Cars Stadium for the Diamonds' final home fixture before Christmas.

 

“It’s been frustrating the last few weeks because I’ve been used to playing, but sometimes that happens when a new manager comes in and you’ve got to work hard to get back in the team.

 

“Obviously it was disappointing not to get the win when I came back into the starting line-up at the weekend, but that’s football - the boys have been doing well so hopefully we can get back to winning games.”

 

Whilst the Diamonds faithful are more accustomed to seeing Conroy in a central midfield berth, the 31-year-old has been used on the left wing since his reintroduction as manager Ian Murray changes his side’s shape.

 

It’s a role Conroy has played in the past, and he’s happy to reacquaint himself with the task.

 

“I’ve not played that position for a few years, but obviously the manager must see something to put me there.

 

“I’m happy to play anywhere, it’s better than sitting on the bench! If wide left is where the manager wants me, I’ll do my best to help the team from there.”

 

After being introduced at half-time against Raith Rovers two weeks ago, Conroy was back in the starting line-up for last week’s trip to Dumbarton. The Diamonds led from the third minute before Jim Duffy’s side equalised at the death.

 

“It was hard to drop points so late in the game. We had been under a bit of pressure in the second half but it’s disappointing to concede after holding the lead for so long.

 

“A draw was probably a fair result in the end.”

 

And with league leaders Arbroath coming to Airdrie on Saturday, the Diamonds face a tough challenge as they aim to get back to winning ways.

 

Dick Campbell’s men are now the only unbeaten team in Scotland, and hold a commanding lead at the top of League One.

 

Ryan thinks that can work in Airdrie’s favour.

 

“Arbroath are flying high, but it’s an extra motivation knowing we can be the first team to beat them. We know we’re good enough, and if we play to our abilities there’s no reason we can’t get the three points.

 

“It’ll be a different game to the one up there, where the wind made it impossible to play football - that was one of the few games I was glad to be on the bench!”

 

Diamonds boss Ian Murray says only slight improvements are required as the runaway table-toppers come to visit.

 

“We’re looking forward to it, but we certainly don’t fear anyone.

 

“We’ll need to be watertight at setplays and in pressing the ball, and we need to show just a wee bit more quality in the final third, but there’s not much between any of the teams in this league.”

 

Goalkeepers Scott Gallacher (cruciate) and David Hutton (ankle) continue to miss out for the Diamonds, and defender Scott Robertson is also sidelined with a knee problem. Kyle Wilkie has resumed full training after missing the Dumbarton match through illness.

 

Mike Roncone referees his first Airdrie match of the season.

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