L32 Forfar W

STRANRAER are sweating over the fitness of David Brownlie ahead of tomorrow’s vital game with Forfar Athletic.

The defender has a thigh knock and is struggling for the clash, with defensive colleagues Adam Cummins and Chris McGowan already ruled out, alongside Ian Smith.

Stevie Farrell’s men go into the game still looking for their first home win of 2019.

The manager said: “We have had many a stat thrown at us this year – it has been a season like that.

“When we have had a negative stat, we have stood up to them.

“You have got to – you cannot run away from the truth.

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“We have got an opportunity to go and put it right.

“It is a great opportunity and we are looking forward to the game and hopefully picking up our first win of 2019.”

Farrell said his side were now in a mini league of four and they were looking to do enough to beat the drop.

Results in recent weeks have seen Montrose and Airdrie pull clear leaving the Blues, Stenhousemuir, Dumbarton and Brechin City looking to avoid the bottom two spots.

Stewart Petrie’s Montrose look to have secured their safety with a 3-1 victory over Stranraer last weekend.

Farrell pulled no punches and acknowledged his team needed to improve on last week’s showing.

He said: “It was disappointing overall.

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“I don’t think we played well enough at all.

“We did not start well and that led on and was probably one of our poorest performances in a long while.

“We did not pose a threat and there was no intensity to us.”

One man who missed that game but is available tomorrow is Max Currie, who comes back into contention having served his two-game ban.

Farrell was keen to see a good turnout from the Stranraer faithful, particularly the youngsters who have added plenty to the atmosphere in recent home games.

He said: “The last few home games, the atmosphere has been excellent.

“It is great to see the young kids of the community coming out to support the team.

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“They are respectful, encouraging and right behind the team.

“It is great to see and long may it continue.

“The players have commented on it and how good the atmosphere has been.

“The continual support they give for 90 minutes is welcome and I hope they are there tomorrow and get behind the boys.”

The manager also paid tribute to Angus Beith, who has been forced to retire due to a hip injury.

The midfielder was instrumental in the second half of Stranraer’s season last year, scoring eight goals in 14 games.

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Farrell was “gutted” for the 23-year-old and said: “You think we are going through a difficult spell, with a hard season and struggling and fighting.

“Here is a young lad with his future in front of him.

“Regardless of where we are, we always have a Saturday to put right.

“Unfortunately, he does not have that.

“He was a fantastic player for us and was very, very respectful.

“They always say bad things happen to good people and Angus is one of those very good people.”

Last meeting
Forfar Athletic 2-1 Stranraer
12 January 2019

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A LATE strike from veteran frontman John Baird denied Stranraer a much-needed point at Station Park.

The Blues came in without Grant Anderson and Ian Smith, missing through injury, while Ciaran Diver, Max Ashmore, Luke Donnelly and Daniel Higgins had all moved on. A debut was given to Conor O’Keefe, while Cameron Elliott was back from a loan spell at Kilbirnie Ladeside.

Dale Hilson opened the scoring after getting on the end of Ross Meechan’s low cross.

However, Stranraer would fight back with Adam Cummins and Mark Lamont coming close. Finally, the Blues found their leveller with Lamont the provider for Innes Cameron.

It looked like the spoils would be shared but Baird latched onto a loose ball to fire home the winner.

Forfar Athletic: McCallum, Meechan, Eckersley, Whyte, Travis, Bain, Malone (MacKintosh 81), Reilly, Hilson (Coupe 85), Baird, Easton (Aitken 78).
Not used: Kennedy, Munro and Hoban.

Stranraer: Currie, Brownlie, D Smith, Hamill, Cummins, McManus, Turner (McDonald 89), Cameron, O’Keefe, Lamont (Elliott 85), Crossan.
Not used: McGowan and Avci.

Last five meetings

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Forfar Athletic 2 Stranraer 1 (Hilson and Baird; Cameron) at Station Park on January 12, 2019
Stranraer 2 Forfar Athletic 1 (Donnelly and McManus; Baird (P)) at Stair Park on December 1, 2018
Forfar Athletic 0 Stranraer 0 at Station Park on August 18, 2018
Stranraer 2 Forfar Athletic 0 (Agnew and Lyon) at Stair Park on March 31, 2018
Forfar Athletic 5 Stranraer 1 (Aitken x2, Dingwall, Hurst and Easton; Woods) at Station Park on February 17, 2018

Last five games

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LOSS v Montrose (A): 3-1
LOSS v Brechin (H): 0-2
DRAW v Arbroath (H): 0-0
WIN v Stenhousemuir (A): 0-1 (Cameron)
LOSS v East Fife (A): 3-1 (Turner)

Forfar Athletic

WIN v Arbroath (H): 2-1 (Hilson and Moore)
LOSS v Airdrieonians (A): 1-0
WIN v Raith Rovers (H): 2-1 (Hilson x2)
DRAW v Brechin City (A): 2-2 (Easton and Spencer)
WIN v East Fife (H): 3-0 (Hilson, Easton and Baird)

Last time out

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Stranraer lineup v Montrose: Avci, McDonald, Brownlie (Lamont 46), D Smith (O’Keefe 79), Hamill, McManus, Turner, McCann, Anderson (Victoria 46), Elliott, Cameron.
Not used: Trialist.

Forfar Athletic lineup v Arbroath: McCallum, Meechan, Eckersley, Whyte, Travis, Irvine, Bain (Coupe 77), Spencer, Hilson, Baird (Malone 89), Moore.
Not used: Reilly, MacKintosh, Easton, Aitken and Hoban.

Craig Napier

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TOMORROW will mark the fourth occasion Craig Napier has taken charge of a Stranraer game this season.

The most recent came up in Arbroath in February when the Blues got a valuable point. Bobby Linn scored for the hosts before Kyle Turner levelled things up.

The last game at Stair Park involving Mr Napier came back in September when Stenhousemuir were the visitors. Turner was again on target on that occasion before Innes Cameron scored his first goal for the club.

Mr Napier has taken charge of one Forfar game this campaign and that came at The Penny Cars Stadium in November. The visitors were 1-0 winners and John Baird found the net with eight minutes left against Airdrie.

Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish
Catch the Grand National and enjoy some matchday refreshments in the Pavilion Bar at Stair Park on Saturday.

The bar will be open from 12pm until 6pm and is open to supporters of both clubs.

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League table

1 Albion Rovers 0 0
2 Annan Athletic 0 0
3 Brechin City 0 0
4 Cowdenbeath 0 0
5 Edinburgh City 0 0
6 Elgin City 0 0
7 Queen's Park 0 0
8 Stenhousemuir 0 0
9 Stirling Albion 0 0
10 Stranraer 0 0

Squad 2020/21

Ayrton Sonkur (DEF, Annan), Jamie Walker (GK, Kilmarnock), Thomas Orr (STR, BSC Glasgow), Kieran Millar (MID, Airdrieonians), Ruari Paton (STR, East Kilbride), Darryl Duffy (STR, Stirling Albion), Greg Fleming (GK, Peterhead), Sean Burns (DEF, Stenhousemuir)

RETURNING: Adam Cummins (DEF), Jamie Hamill (DEF/MID), Grant Gallagher (MID), Scott Robertson (DEF), Cameron Elliott (MID/STR), Connor McManus (MID), James Hilton (MID), Lewis McIntyre (DEF), Joao Victoria (MID/STR), Andy Stirling (MID)

OUT: Ryan Thomson (Darvel), Max Currie (Airdrieonians), Dale Burgess (Beith), Jordan Allan (Darvel), Lee Hamilton (Edinburgh City), David Smith, Denny Johnstone (loan ended), Carlo Pignatiello (loan ended), Ryan Stevenson

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