Al­bion will use break to in­stall new boss in hot­seat

Stirling Observer - - THE BACK PAGE - David Ogilvie

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.