September 22, 2022
Alloa Athletic vs Airdrieonians
Salim Kouider-Aïssa hopes his late goal last weekend will see him get the nod for a starting spot when the Diamonds travel to Alloa on SPFL Trust Trophy duty.
The striker added the gloss to a thumping 5-0 home victory against Clyde, heading home his second goal of the season just eight minutes after coming on as an 81st-minute substitute.
After nine months on the sidelines following a knee injury, Kouider-Aïssa has been picking up minutes from the bench since the beginning of the season, and believes he is ready for a starting berth.
“I’m feeling good, training well - and it was obviously nice to get a goal at the weekend, and get on the pitch and get a few minutes.
“I just need to build up the minutes and then hopefully start looking to start games.”
As Airdrie’s cinch League 1 campaign takes a rest for this weekend’s SPFL Trust Trophy card, 26-year-old Kouider-Aïssa is eyeing more minutes at the ground where his injury nightmare began.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been out, obviously I prefer being around the squad and playing on a Saturday. Hopefully it’s going to be a good opportunity on Friday in the cup.
“My fitness in training is there. Game-time hasn’t come the way I wanted it to, but I’m just being patient and as the games come it’ll hopefully build up.
“I just need to knuckle down, keep my head down and keep working hard in training.”
With teams from Wales and Northern Ireland entering the draw at the same third-round stage as Airdrie, there was potential for an interesting away day for Diamonds fans - but instead a trip to Clackmannanshire beckons with the fixture switched to Friday night to accommodate Saturday’s Scotland match.
The Diamonds have already faced Brian Rice's Alloa on league duty this season, with Gabby McGill and Calum Gallagher on the scoresheet in a 2-0 home win in August, but Salim is anticipating a tricky tie at the Indodrill.
“It’s a team in our league, so it’s definitely going to be a tough game.
“They’re not going to be any pushovers, we need to go there and work hard and graft, put the work in and hopefully we’ll be rewarded for it.
“The boys have been playing well, and it was good to bounce back from a not-so-good result a couple of weeks ago. We’ve got a good rhythm and hopefully the boys that come in on Friday night will do a job for us.”
Manager Rhys McCabe is under no illusions as to how difficult a venue The Indodrill Stadium has proven to be for Airdrie in the past.
“You’ve just go to look at the league performances that we’ve had there over the last year or two.
“Brian will be desperate for the lads to go and avenge the result that we gave them at the start of the season, so nothing changes regardless of personnel - we’ve got to make sure that we approach the game with the right mindset.
“We go there to win and it’s as simple as that.”
Josh Rae continues to miss out for the Diamonds, but the goalkeeper is on the road to recovery after undergoing shoulder surgery earlier this week.
Greg Aitken referees his first Airdrie tie of the season.
The match kicks off at 7:45pm. Ticketing and streaming information are available using the link below.
Friday September 23, 2022
The Indodrill Stadium, Alloa
Stuart Stevenson, Elliott Husband Powton