East Fife vs Airdrieonians
January 10, 2020
Kurtis Roberts believes Airdrie will have to be at their best to take three points from East Fife this weekend.
The Diamonds travel to Bayview on Saturday aiming to keep the pressure on league leaders Raith Rovers after last weekend’s home victory over Forfar Athletic.
Substitute Nat Wedderburn got the vital goal to give Airdrie an important three points, and Roberts says the Diamonds’ fitness gave them the edge.
“The first half was disappointing, we felt as if we could have played better.
“As we started coming into the game I knew we weren’t going to lose it, because our fitness levels are much higher than they used to be.”
Roberts returned to the starting line-up for the previous weekend’s draw against Falkirk after a couple of weeks on the bench, and the midfield man was pleased to get back in.
“It’s obviously great to start games whenever you can, but I know that won’t happen every week.
“Stepping up from League Two to League One, I knew I wasn’t going to be guaranteed a starting spot, but it’s good to get as many minutes in as I can - that’s what I was aiming for when I came here.”
It’s been a busy week at the Penny Cars Stadium with a number of players signing contract extensions, but the big story of the transfer window has been the return of talismanic striker Andy Ryan, who joins on loan from Dunfermline Athletic.
Roberts believes that new additions can be a shot in the arm for the club at this time of year.
“I think it can give you a lift in two ways. New players coming in can boost the squad, but they can also motivate the guys that are already here - everybody gives that wee bit more because nobody wants to lose their place in the team.
“It’s an exciting time for the fans and even for the team - bringing in more quality is a good thing for everyone.”
Ryan goes straight into the squad for the trip to Bayview as the Diamonds meet East Fife for the third time this season.
Darren Young’s side were victorious in the first Methil meeting back in August as Ross Davidson, Liam Watt, Aaron Dunsmore and Scott Agnew put the Fifers in a commanding position before Calum Gallagher’s stoppage time consolation.
The roles were reversed in the return fixture in November, with Gallagher, Dale Carrick (2) and Ally Roy giving the dominant Diamonds a 4-0 win.
Kurtis wants Airdrie to repeat the feat and bring the points home on Saturday.
“I’m hoping for three points - a couple of weeks ago it felt like the teams at the top were starting to break away, but now there’s only six points between the top five and it’s tighter than ever. We always take every game as it comes, but if we want to challenge for the league we need to win as many as we can.
“The last time we played East Fife we owed them that performance, and it felt like we could have scored more - but in football you don’t know what’s round the corner.
“We just know that if we perform to our best, we’re capable of beating anyone.”
Manager Ian Murray added: “The last time we went there was a bad day for us, although we rectified it at home.
“With 16 games to go things are getting really tight at the top, so we need to go there full of confidence - which we are.
“At this point I’m more concerned with performances than scorelines, because I feel that if you perform well, you’ll get your just rewards over the piece.”
The Diamonds boss has a full squad to choose from ahead of the trip.
Referee David Lowe has been involved in one other Airdrie match this season, the 1-0 Tunnocks Caramel Wafer Cup win over Hamilton U21s in August.
East Fife have provided some information for supporters.
Saturday January 11, 2020
Locality Hub Bayview Stadium, Methil
Referee: David Lowe
Assistants: Ivan Stankovic, Steven Traynor