Preview: Airdrieonians vs Annan Athletic
July 23, 2018
Ryan Conroy believes that Airdrie are capable of winning both of their remaining Betfred Cup Group F matches, but the Diamonds have to do their talking on the pitch.
With a narrow defeat to Livingston and a commanding win over Berwick Rangers already on the table, Airdrie now face Annan Athletic at the Penny Cars Stadium on Tuesday evening before making the short trip to Hamilton's Superseal Stadium on Saturday.
Conroy believes there have been a lot of positives for the Diamonds so far.
"I think we've played well in both games.
"We probably let ourselves down in the first half of the Livingston game, but apart from that it's been a promising start... and we're playing the right way."
Conroy has a more relaxed role in the team now after last season saw him captaining a very youthful squad and taking on extra responsibilities on the pitch. The midfielder is enjoying the freedom.
"I've been happy with my own performances so far - I'm feeling a lot fitter again after struggling to recover from a bad injury.
"I'm enjoying being able to get forward a lot more now with some experienced players behind me giving me more freedom to do so."
Tuesday's visitors Annan have also suffered a narrow loss at the hands of Livingston, but the Galabankies also have two very impressive results to their name, having beaten Hamilton 1-0 before slamming four past Berwick Rangers without reply.
With a potential second-place qualifying spot up for grabs, Conroy expects Peter Murphy's side to be up for the match.
"We're expecting a really tough game. They've started the group really well, but I think if we play to our strengths we should have enough to win the game.
"We've got to fancy our chances of going through - we're more than capable of winning the next two games, but it's easy to say that - we need to go out and produce.
"It's still early on in the season, but it would be great to go into the league campaign with a bit of momentum."
Diamonds boss Stevie Findlay expects an interesting cup tie.
"You've got to take your hat off to Annan for the brilliant start they've had. They'll really fancy themselves to come here and take something.
"On the other hand, we can put ourselves in the driving seat if we get a result, so it should be an exciting game."
The manager confirmed that there were "one or two niggles" among the squad following Saturday's trip to Berwick, and changes may be made in light of the volume of games played across pre-season and the cup fixtures.
Grant Irvine is the referee for the Group F tie. The whistler took charge of three Airdrie matches last season, with a draw and two defeats for the Diamonds.