AFTER two defeats to their bitter rivals already this season, Bo’ness United are desperate to beat Linlithgow tomorrow and shatter the visitors’ unbeaten record.
The match at Newtown Park provides United with a last chance to register a win against the Super League champions – who haven’t lost in any competition this season – having succumbed to Rose in the league and Emirates Scottish Junior Cup.
With manager Alan McGonigal unavailable, coach Steve Kerrigan will lead Bo’ness at home and he admits it would give his side great pleasure to end Linlithgow’s amazing run.
He said: “It’s always good to get a derby win and, with this being our last chance this season, everyone is up for the game.
“Linlithgow are close to doing something really special this season, something we may never see again from a junior side and that’s go the whole season unbeaten. However, we have a chance to stop them tomorrow and, after suffering those two defeats earlier in the season, I don’t need talk the guys up.
“It’s going to be hard, but we’ve everything to gain and nothing to lose so we’ll be going for it. The Linlithgow lads know it’ll be hard coming down here and we aim to make a game of it.
“In the Scottish Cup loss, we didn’t have Steve Hislop and paid for his absence. This time he is available and I believe he’s the top scorer in the East Region and that will give us a lift in confidence.
“It’s been a disappointing season for us. We lost at Broxburn in the first game of the season and manager Paul Ronald left the club and it took a while for us to recover. We’ve bounced back, though, and a win over our rivals would start the build-up for next season.”
Linlithgow manager Mark Bradley is on a high after claiming the Super League title and League Cup. His team also have the small matter of an Emirates Scottish Cup final against Auchinleck Talbot on June 2 to look forward to.
Even so, he’s relishing tomorrow’s derby as much as ever.
“We don’t want any slip-ups at this stage of the season with only three games to go,” insisted Bradley. “We’re trying to get over the line without any defeats and it’s that attitude that’s getting us results. The players never know when they are beaten. At this stage in the season, if you are successful then the games get bigger and bigger.
“It’s quarter and semi-final stages in the local cups now and its good teams we face every week now.
“We have to keep focused for very game and luckily so far the players have responded really well. Everyone is fit and ready for the game and we know Bo’ness will come at us looking to bounce back from the defeats earlier in the season. We’ll be ready for them and hopefully it’ll be a good game for the punters, who I know will turn out in numbers.”
It’s all set for a cracking match tomorrow. Bradley has Linlithgow playing good, attacking football and no-one would bet against them reaching the end of the season unbeaten.
However, a big home crowd and the return of Steve Hislop could help Bo’ness cause a shock. Let battle commence . . .