Roy predicts Baikie is the man to make Rose bloom

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LINLITHGOW ROSE chairman David Roy reckons Dave Baikie is the man who can get the East Region's most successful club firing on all cylinders again.

Baikie, below, the former Arbroath, Cowdenbeath and East Fife manager, was officially confirmed as Brian Fairley's successor at training last night.

His first game in charge is a Super League visit to Whitburn tomorrow (2.30pm kick-off) and Roy admits he's excited about having someone with Baikie's calibre at the helm.

"Dave Baikie is a man who's well known in the junior game, mainly due to what he achieved with Tayport," said Roy. "I've known him well for 10-15 years and he's an excellent manager.

"I think he's a good choice for us because he has a great eye for players, both in the junior game and also in the Third Division."

Linlithgow only have two league games left – the other one after tomorrow is at home to Camelon – but Roy is hoping they can extend their season by going the distance in two Cup competitions.

"As things stand, Dave will have a minimum of four games between now and the end of the season but that could rise to nine if we can stay in Cup competitions," he added.

"Due to the fact we've dropped some silly points, Bonnyrigg are certainly favourites to win the Super League now but, with all the other teams having each other to play still, we might not be far away if we could win our last two games and get on to 37 points.

"I was delighted with the job that Mark Bradley, Iain Gallacher and Danny Smith did after they were appointed as caretaker co-managers and would like to thank them for that.

"But, in the final few games of the season, Dave will have the opportunity to size up the squad we have and see where he needs to strengthen for next season."

Whitburn are unbeaten in ten games and boss Derek Strickland will warn his players to forget about the hype surrounding the opposition's new manager as they bid to climb away from the relegation zone.

"Dave Baikie's appointment won't really come into the equation because games between Whitburn and Linlithgow always take care of themselves – everyone knows the rivalry between the two clubs," said Strickland.

"I'm pleased that we've hit a bit of form at the right time of the season but we're still down there near the bottom and, even though we could be in with a chance of challenging for the title if we won our games in hand, the first objective is to secure safety."

Strickland, who has Kenny Hannah available again after missing the last three games, is hoping son Colin can keep up his recent good form since returning from injury.

"Colin has scored three in the last three games and, in hindsight, the spell he had out through injury has maybe been a good thing for him because he's looking sharp," added the manager.

Whitburn have already beaten Linlithgow twice this season, 2-1 in the League at Prestonfield and 1-0 in the Scottish Junior Cup.

"We've certainly got nothing to fear," insisted Strickland, "and, hopefully, the combination of us playing well at the moment and it being Dave Baikie's first game in charge of Linlithgow will add a few extra on the gate tomorrow."

Elsewhere in the Super League, bottom-of-the-table Bathgate badly need a win at Bo'ness, Paul Jack's side currently lying four points adrift, though they still have a game in hand on Glenrothes.