Evening Express

League Two: Peterhead boss McInally expects real test from different Edinburgh City

Peterhead's Willie Gibson.

Peterhead boss Jim McInally is expecting to face a different Edinburgh City from the one his side have turned over 3-0 twice already this season.

The Blue Toon travel to the capital tomorrow looking to bounce back from a 1-0 Balmoor defeat to title rivals and League Two table-toppers Montrose.

McInally said: “Edinburgh are a much-improved team.

“They’ve got a lot of loan players who have come in and really given them a boost.

“They’re always a handful. Even at our place (a 3-0 Peterhead win) in the first half I thought they were actually better than us that day.

“We know it’s going to be really tough.

“They were unlucky and by all accounts should have beaten Clyde on Saturday.

“I said it after our game and Stewart Petrie (Montrose boss) echoed my comments – any team can beat any team in this league on any given day. So you need to take it one game at a time and deal with each team as they come.”

Peterhead are now four points behind the Gable Endies with two games in hand.

Despite admitting to set-piece vulnerability after conceding from a free-kick against Montrose, McInally is relying on his stretched squad to rectify this problem for tomorrow’s game.

He said: “We don’t have time to practise set-pieces as we only train once a week, on astro turf, where boys like Simon Ferry and Dave McCracken don’t train on it.

“We’re really short on bodies again this week, so I wasn’t able to do anything in training last night, except be careful that we didn’t get more injuries.

“The injury situation is much the same as last week (midfielders Jamie Stevenson and Nicky Riley are struggling with hamstring and knee problems, while defender Mason Robertson and midfielder Paul Cairney are also unfit). But on top of it you’ve got Simon Ferry, who doesn’t play on the astro turf and Willie Gibson is really doubtful. He got stitches in an ankle injury last week.

“We’ll wait until tomorrow to see, but his ankle was still in a wee bit of a mess earlier in the week.

“We just need to cope as I’ve not been able to bring anybody in – that’s been the most frustrating thing.

“You need to try to get them (the players) a wee help and everywhere I’ve turned we just can’t get anybody.

“There’s still no excuse, because the starting team will be strong enough to win the game, that’s for sure.”

One positive this week for Peterhead has been a brief let-up in the hectic schedule of also having games midweek.

Last Tuesday, before their top-of-the-table clash with Montrose, they faced a long trip to play Berwick, where they won 3-2.

McInally said: “It only eases off until next week.

“That’s why it’s important we don’t panic and play these guys with injuries and get them injured to the extent they’re out for double the time.

“I’ve said to Willie: ‘if you’re not right you don’t play, because we’ve got a load of games coming up’.

“It’s about finding a balance. There’s a long way to go and we have 42 points left to play for.”