Betfred Cup clash with Dundee is all about fitness for Peterhead before league season

Scott Brown has a hamstring problem
Scott Brown has a hamstring problem

Peterhead assistant boss David Nicholls says tonight’s game with Premiership Dundee is about getting fitness up to scratch for the league campaign.

However, Nicholls also thinks the final Betfred Cup group match will give the Blue Toon a chance to show what they can do.

The Balmoor clash comes after defeats to Championship Dunfermline (3-0) and fellow League Two side Stirling Albion (2-0). Jim McInally’s team have two points, gained in a bonus point draw with Brechin City at Glebe Park, and are bottom of Group D.

Saturday’s loss to Stirling saw Peterhead struggling to last the pace as they were suckerpunched twice on the counter-attack.

Nicholls said: “It’ll be a really good test. Dundee, although they lost on Sunday, have been flying and they’re certainly looking like a decent side.

“It’s about getting back to basics from Saturday. I know we missed a few chances at the start of the game.

“It looks like the amount of travelling we’ve done in the last few weeks caught up with us a wee bit.

“But that’s all part of pre-season. It’s never going to be about the Betfred Cup for Peterhead, it’s always going to be about the league.

“We just need to make sure everybody is fit and raring to go for the first league game.”

After missing promotion through the play-offs last term, the Blue Toon are setting their sights on League One again for the upcoming campaign.

But they will still be going all out to claim a confidence-building scalp against Neil McCann’s Dees, who sit third in the group after losing 1-0 at Dens to the Pars.

Nicholls said: “We watched them, Jim was there on Sunday to watch Dundee.

“We do our homework and it’s going to be a difficult game, there’s no doubt about that.

“You seen that against Dunfermline. We battled away for most of the game, but their full-time aspect kicked in near the end of the game, given we had some players returning from injury.

“I thought 3-0 was bit of a harsh result at the end of the day.

“When you’re full-time, being fully fit and raring to go is your job. Part-time is a different entity.

“But the guys will be professional and fully aware of the dangers. They’ll give it 100%.”

Paddy Boyle isn’t expected to be fit to play as he is still overcoming a nerve issue, while Scott Brown also has a hamstring problem which the Blue Toon are treating with care.

Willie Gibson is suspended after being booked against Stirling Albion.

After tonight’s game, Peterhead have a 10-day break before their League Two fixtures start at home to Queen’s Park.