Albion will use break to install new boss in hotseat
Stirling Albion players can hang up their boots this weekend thanks to Irn-Bru Cup action and the international break.
The Binos return next weekend when they welcome Queen’s Park to Forthbank in the second round of the Scottish Cup.
It’s the first of three home games in a row for Albion, who host Ladbrokes League 2 leaders Edinburgh City on October 27 and Berwick Rangers on November 3.
The Binos completed the first quarter of the campaign with a 1-0 defeat to 10man Cowdenbeath at Central Park last weekend when interim boss Darren Barr took charge of the team, assisted by Peter MacDonald and Mark Stewart. However, it is unlikely that the former Falkirk and Scotland defender will land the job on a full-time basis, with the club expected to appoint a more experienced replacement for Dave Mackay, who parted company with Stirling in the wake of the 3-0 defeat at bottom club Albion Rovers a fortnight ago.
The club could have a new manager in place before the cup tie against Queen’s Park, but have not put a deadline on applications for the post, which was advertised on Sunday.
A swift appointment has perhaps been made more difficult with vacancies also appearing this week at Airdrie and Dumbarton, while Queen’s Park – linked with Jim Duffy – are yet to appoint a successor to Gus MacPherson, who left last month to become technical director at St Mirren.
Stevie Aitken, who spent three years at Dumbarton before the Sons opted to make a change after a disappointing first quarter to their League 1 campaign, also enjoyed success at Stranraer and could be of interest to the Binos.
But whoever takes on the job faces a tough challenge to haul Stirling towards the top four, which was their minimum ambition at the start of the season.
They have lost seven out of nine matches so far and are 10 points outside the play-offs.
The immediate aim will be to push away from the wrong end of the table – Stirling are currently sitting in eighth place, just two points above Albion Rovers. Up to half a dozen key players have missed large chunks of the season – caretaker boss Barr among them – and there is no sign of last year’s top scorer Darren Smith returning to action any time soon.
He has made just one substitute appearance in 2018/19 due to a back problem and the team has struggled to create and score goals in his absence.
With the transfer window closed and emergency loans now a thing of the past, there is little scope to add to the squad until January.
Meanwhile, Stirling Albion begin their Reserve Challenge Cup campaign against Raith Rovers on the Forthbank plastic on Monday evening.
Andy Todd’s side are looking to bounce back from a 2-0 home defeat to East Kilbride in Reserve League 2 this week.