Shire aim to make it twelve games without defeat when the team takes on Spartans at Ochilview on Sunday in their latest Lowland League match.
The encounter promises to be their toughest for a while – Spartans are in great form themselves and have won their last nine games in a row.
It’s the meeting of second against third in the league table and will be seen as pivotal for both as they aim to close the gap on leaders East Kilbride.
The referee is Calum Haswell, Shire will wear their traditional black and white hoops and kick-off is 3:00pm.
John Sludden’s team extended their unbeaten run to eleven matches with last week’s 1-0 away victory at Edinburgh University, which was the team’s twelfth Lowland League match without defeat and Shire’s fifth straight away win.
Coach Sludden will add two players to his squad for the Spartans match with club captain Derek Ure returning after missing last week’s game due to a one match suspension, and Michael Oliver returning to the club after agreeing a fresh loan deal from Clyde.
Spartans are on a hot run of form too – they have won their last nine games which includes two victories over leaders East Kilbride the last of which, in the East Qualifying Cup semi-final, came last weekend.
The visitors will not lack confidence or knowledge about their opponents – no fewer than six Spartans players have previously been Shire players and all will be motivated to do well against their former club.
There is one former Spartans player in the Shire ranks, Paul Sludden, who will be looking to add to his tally of 13 goals this season so far against his former club.
The Shire coach is well-aware that the game is being billed as the Lowland League’s top fixture this weekend and some are attaching importance to the outcome in terms of both teams’ chances of catching East Kilbride.
But John says, while it’s a key game, people should avoid reading too much into just one result in what is a long season.
You can listen to his full pre-game thoughts by clicking on the link below :
Shire midfielder Kris Faulds has been part of the long unbeaten run and wants to continue that with a victory in Sunday’s match. He says the narrow 1-0 defeat in the return fixture at Ainslie Park is certain to act as a motivating factor for the Shire team.
To listen to Kris’s pre-game comments click on the link below :