July 9, 2021
Airdrieonians vs Annan Athletic
Club captain Callum Fordyce says a good start is vital as Airdrie welcome Annan Athletic to the Penny Cars Stadium for the opening fixture in the Premier Sports Cup.
Peter Murphy’s side are the Diamonds’ first competitive opponents of the campaign - only six weeks after last season’s play-off final.
Having been appointed club captain in the summer, 29-year-old defender Fordyce has new responsibilities to go with his preparations for the new season.
“Obviously it’s a change in role for myself. We’ve only been in for maybe two weeks so I’m still getting to know the new players, but everything’s going well so far.
“Pre-season has been tough, it was a very quick turnaround. Games are coming thick and fast, but that’s what players want because that’s where you get the match fitness.”
The Diamonds played in the pre-season NL Cup at Broadwood last weekend, securing a place in the final with a late win over Cumbernauld Colts before going down 3-0 to Clyde a day later.
Fordyce says his aches and pains afterwards are proof that it was a valuable workout.
“Sunday night wasn’t too great on the body! It was good to get minutes, I felt very fit on the Saturday then on the Sunday I got to about 80 minutes before I started feeling a bit fatigued.
“If you look at the game against Cumbernauld Colts, if we had scored early it could have been a demolition, no disrespect to them. They defended really well as a team, but we eventually got our reward.
“The Sunday was different, the first half was unacceptable. In the second half we made a couple of changes and arguably we could have been in front. Clyde are a good side with good players, and it was a hard lesson for us to take.”
The Diamonds’ focus now turns to competitive action with Saturday’s Premier Sports Cup opener against Annan Athletic.
The Galabankies head to Airdrie for the first tie in Group F, and Fordyce says the Diamonds will be committed to getting three points on the board.
“Every game is a big game, it’s important to get off to a good start. We want to get out of this group stage and give the fans a wee cup run, and that starts with Annan on Saturday.
“We’re a league above so we’ll be favourites, and that puts a bit of pressure on us. We know Annan are a good side so we’ll be wary of them and respect them, but we need to go ourselves and focus on getting the win.”
With Covid restrictions not yet fully lifted, a limited crowd will be in the Penny Cars Stadium to watch the match, and Callum believes the backing of the Diamonds fans can give the team a boost.
“The great quote is “football is nothing without fans”, and at times last year games did feel like friendlies.
“To get that back is going to be massive for us - the fans were great in the play-off final and our aim this year is to get up and give them something to cheer about, so hopefully we can do that. It’ll be great to have them back.”
Manager Ian Murray wants the Diamonds to rekindle the cup spirit of days gone by.
“It’ll be a really hard game, Annan have a really good away record. It’s up to us, as the team in the higher division and the home team, to raise the standard.
“This is a competition we haven’t done particularly well in over the last couple of years, and that has annoyed me - when I was a kid Airdrie were good at cup runs, and that’s what we aim to do again.”
The Diamonds boss confirmed that midfielder Adam Frizzell will rejoin the squad after resuming training following a hamstring strain.
Match tickets, which have been on pre-sale to existing season ticket holders and Club 1924 members, go on general sale at 9am. Attendance is limited to 500, and sales are limited to four tickets per transaction.
You can also watch the game on our DTVLive streaming service using the link below.
Saturday July 10, 2021
Penny Cars Stadium, Airdrie
Graeme Leslie, Terry Ormiston