FORMER skipper Fraser Burnett insisted there will be no relaxation in the Arbroath camp as the league season takes a mid-term break to allow the spotlight to switch to the next phase of the Scottish Cup.
The Lochlands outfit sit proudly at the head of the Eastern Zone of the CSL Premiership, with a defeat by Carlton being their only blip. And today they square up to arch rivals Forfarshire in their quest to maintain their 100 per cent tournament record in Group B.
Burnett admitted he is desperate to get back into the swing of things after missing last week’s demolition job on Grange through holiday commitments.
He said: “There will be no slackening off because we know Shire will be desperate to claim our scalps. Matches between the sides are always fascinating and hard-fought and we expect a stern challenge. It might be an extra challenge for a couple of the boys as they will have been having fun at the club’s big Sportsman’s Dinner the previous evening!”
Burnett went on: “It was difficult not to be involved against Grange, but they pulled off a fantastic result. Everyone is looking forward to this weekend, especially the likes of opening bat Brendan Ford, who will be up against his old side.”
Kelburne host Stirling County in the other pool game.
Grange, meanwhile, are taking the opportunity to introduce some fresh young blood for their Group G match with Dundee HSFP on Tayside.
There are debuts for Scotland age group squad youth Matt Angellini and Zander Muir, plus a recall for 17-year-old Duncan Player. Missing will be paceman Gordon Goudie and Smudger Smith, who are on Scotland duty, while Ryan Flannigan has work commitments. Their absence is tempered by the return of vice captain Andrew Brock. Greenock make the short trip to Renfrew in the other fixture.
Group A leaders Clydesdale are sure to be tested at Titwood by East Kilbride, who have been ruling the roost in the First Division (West). With former Dale man Hermanjit Singh skippering the visitors, there will be no lack of inspiration.
Drumpellier have emerged as the arguably the team of the season thus far and they ought to be too strong for Weirs at Albert Park. The other tie in Group C features two clubs who have struggled at their respective levels, Freuchie and Watsonian.
Another outfit with an unblemished Cup record are Stoneywood-Dyce and that should remain the case when they take on Penicuik at Kirkhill in Group D, where Poloc face old rivals Ayr at Shawholm.
Group E pacesetters Aberdeenshire will be wary of their visit to Glenrothes, who have made such an impressive entry to the national league scene.
Uddingston need to dispose of Stenhousemuir at the Tryst to keep alive their aspirations.
Heriot’s have six points out of six in Group F, but they are pitted against a vastly improved Falkland side at Goldenacre, while Ferguslie entertain Dumfries.
In the final section, West of Scotland – trailing Carlton by two points – are Prestwick-bound, while the pacesetters go to Corstorphine tomorrow.