25 East Fife W

THREE hundred and fifteen days ago, Stevie Farrell stepped into the away dugout at Bayview Stadium for his first game as Stranraer manager.

Come full time, the Blues sat bottom of the table, had 21 points from 22 games and sat three points behind 9th placed Stenhousemuir and seven points behind Albion Rovers and Peterhead in 7th and 8th.

Fast forward 35 games, and the Blues are getting ready to go back to Methil for the first time since that game.

Farrell said: "I'm not nostalgic - every game is different.

"Tomorrow's game is different to when I took over.

"We were sitting rock bottom with 20 points from 21 games.

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"I took over and we are now sitting on 20 points from 13 games.

"Has the club moved forward? I would like to think so.

"There are no two games that are the same but we will go into the game and it is a game we are looking to win.

"My time in charge has flown by and I don't mean any disrespect to anyone who was here before me but we were rooted to the bottom of the league and five points adrift of eighth.

"We turned that round."

The manager was quick to heap praise on the players from both last season and this season for their achievements.

Eight of the 18 from Farrell's first game in charge have since left the club, with more than a few new faces coming in.

The newest of those faces - Angus Beith - slotted into the team last weekend at Arbroath and popped up with the winning goal.

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Farrell praised not only the new signing but the team in general for what was a fine win away from home.

He said: "It was a great result and a great performance.

"It was ideal away from home at a difficult place to go and the boys did really good.

"We started the game very well and were unfortunate to be behind at half time.

"We said to them to keep doing the things they were doing and we always believed."

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The same performance and same result would, obviously, be welcome at a ground where Stranraer has not had the best of records.

Steven Bell's last minute winner in a 2-1 victory on November 16, 2013, was the last time the Blues left Methil with all three points.

The visitors' squad is strengthened by the return of Scott Robertson, who finally finishes his three league match suspension.

However, tomorrow (Saturday) has come too soon for top scorer Scott Agnew.

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The midfielder trained on Thursday night, but Farrell said the trip to East Fife had come a week too early for the former St Mirren midfielder.

One man who is expected to be involved in the squad is Tom Lang.

The 20 year old has not featured since the 1-1 draw away to Forfar at the end of September and could be heading north once again after being linked with Peterhead.

Farrell said: "Tom will be involved tomorrow but he has not played a lot of football.

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"He is a great guy, a great guy to have around the club and a good professional.

"Jim McInally asked if he could go up and train there and we have no issue with that.

"We have no issue with him going up to training as long as he is available for Stranraer on Saturday."


Last meeting
Stranraer 1-0 East Fife
5 August 2017

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A SECOND half thunderbolt from Jamie Hamill was all that separated the two sides when they met back in August, as the hosts got their league campaign off to the perfect start.

Ryan Wallace was looking dangerous in the first half against his former club but ultimately spurned three chances in the opening 45 minutes.

That wastefulness in front of goal almost came back to haunt the Blues before the break when Hamill's attempted cross field pass to Morgyn Neill was intercepted by Pat Slattery. The midfielder only Cameron Belford to beat but pulled the shot the wrong side of the post.

Finally, the only goal of the game came just after the hour mark. Wallace may not have been able to find the target but he was provider for Hamill, who had plenty of open space and thumped the ball beyond Ryan Goodfellow.

Stranraer: Belford, Robertson, Dick, Barron, Neill, Hamill, Bell, Anderson, Turner (Agnew 66), Thomson (Woods 66), Wallace (Okoh 81).
Not used: Lang, McGowan, Stoney and Currie.

East Fife: Goodfellow, Dunsmore, Docherty, Watson, Gordon, Slattery (Wilkie 73), Millar, Flanagan, Willis, Duggan, Wilson (Hurst 66).
Not used: Reilly, Young and Cordery

Last five meetings

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- 1-0 (Hamill) at Stair Park on August 5, 2017
- 2-1 (Malcolm and Kassarate; Kerr) at Stair Park on May 6, 2-17
- 0-0 at Bayview Stadium on January 28, 2017
- 1-1 (Bell; Brown) at Stair Park on October 22, 2016
- 2-0 (Insall x2) at Bayview Stadium on September 10, 2016

Stranraer's last five games

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WIN v Arbroath (A): 1-2 (Turner and Beith)
LOSS v Brora Rangers (H): 0-1
LOSS v Airdrieonians (A): 2-0
WIN v Queen's Park (H): 3-0 (Anderson, Bell, Wallace)
LOSS v Ayr United (A): 2-0

East Fife's last five games

LOSS v Queen's Park (A): 2-1 (Duggan)
WIN v Airdrieonians (H): 6-1 (Wilkie x2, Duggan, Lamont, Kane and Hurst)
WIN v Clyde (A): 0-2 (Smith and Page)
LOSS v Forfar Athletic (A): 2-0
LOSS v Raith Rovers (A): 1-0

Last time out

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Stranraer lineup v Arbroath: Belford, Dick, Barron, Neill, Hamill, Bell, Anderson (Woods 81), Turner, Beith, Thomson, Wallace (Stoney 90)
Not used: Lang, McGowan, Okoh, Elliott and Currie.

East Fife lineup v Queen's Park: M Hurst, Dunsmore, Kane (Linton 68), Page, Piggott, Docherty, Lamont (Flanagan 83), Smith, Wilkie, Millar (G Hurst 68), Duggan.
Not used: Watson, Wilson, Willis and Goodfellow.

Referee

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It is an unusual statistic, but one Stranraer will be more than happy to see continue this weekend.

Steven Kirkland has refereed eight games this season and just once has the home team emerged victorious. In fact, in seven of those games, the home side has not even scored a goal.

You have to go back to 2016 to find the last time he was in charge of a game involving the Fifers. That was at Brechin when the visitors won 1-0 with Scott Robinson's goal.

The last time he was at Bayview Stadium it was August 1, 2015, when the hosts emerged as winners over Dumbarton in the League Cup after a penalty shoot-out.

For Stranraer, the man in the middle was involved in Stranraer's 3-3 draw with Peterhead in February. Ryan Thomson cancelled out Rory McAllister's early goal before Willie Gibson put the Blues 2-1 up. McAllister levelled things in the second before future Stranraer signing Grant Anderson scored to put the visitors in front.

However, Gibson would pop up with another goal to ensure the spoils were shared.

Admission

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Set your sat nav for KY8 3RW. Parking is available at or near the ground.

Entry prices are as follows:

Adult £15, Senior Citizens (60 and over) £12, Child £5, Parent and Child £18, Parent and Two Children £21.

Coverage

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Follow the Blues on Twitter at @StranraerFC for live updates throughout the afternoon.

If you live outside the UK and Ireland, you can watch the game via an online live stream video which is being trialled by East Fife.

The stream costs £5 and is available from www.eastfifeshop.com.

And finally...

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For a match a little closer to home, you can watch Stranraer Reserves in action at Stair Park against Annan Athletic, kickoff 3pm.

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POS
TEAM PLD
PTS
1 Arbroath 7 17
2 Raith Rovers 7 13
3 Airdrieonians 7 10
4 East Fife 7 10
5 Brechin City 7 9
6 Dumbarton 7 8
7 Stranraer 7 8
8 Forfar Athletic 7
8
9 Montrose 7 7
10 Stenhousemuir 7 6


Fixtures

2018/19 Squad

1 - Max Currie (GK)
2 - Daniel Higgins (DEF)

3 - Chris McGowan (DEF)
4 - Andrew McDonald (DEF)
5 - David Brownlie (DEF)
6 - Connor McManus (MID)
7 - Mark Lamont (MID)
8 - Kyle Turner (MID)
9 - Isaac Layne (STR)

10 - Luke Donnelly (STR)
11 - Grant Anderson (M/S)
12 - Ian Smith (MID)

13 - Lyle Avci (GK)
14 - Cameron Elliott (MID)
16 - Max Ashmore (MID)
17 - David Smith (D/M)
18 - Innes Cameron (STR)
19 - Ciaran Diver (STR)

22 - Jamie Hamill (DEF)
23 - Adam Cummins (DEF)