Raeburn insists his players won't Stroll through cup tie

CIVIL SERVICE STROLLERS, with only one defeat in their previous ten games, are the form team as they entertain Capital rivals Edinburgh City in the second round of the East of Scotland League Cup at Marine Drive tomorrow.

The Strollers' only blip in the calendar year of 2010 was a 3-1 King Cup defeat against Leith Athletic, a result which did not amuse joint manager Andy Raeburn.

He said: "Some of our players thought that they had nothing more to do than turn up and they would win. I can guarantee that there will be no similar mistake tomorrow."

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The Strollers were promoted last season and have been impressive in the Central Taxis Premier Division, currently sitting in third position, far above where they realistically expected to be at this time in their campaign.

Raeburn said: "Our main goal at the beginning of the season was to stay in the Premier Division and we have more than achieved that.

"Now we are looking to continue on from where we are. If, at the end of the season, we are in fourth or fifth position then we would still be okay with that. However, we are in the winning habit and that's great for everyone connected with what I personally regard as being a family club.

"The boys have stuck by their tasks and have battled away. The fighting spirit within the squad has been terrific, as it was last season, especially after the turn of the year.

"We have come a long way in the three seasons since I have been involved with the club."

The last time Strollers met City, Raeburn's men won 2-1 and he said: "I thought that we were the better side and were two up but when they scored they came back at us.

"City are a young team who play with a lot of enthusiasm. We will be giving them 100 per cent respect and definitely not turning up thinking that we have a divine right to win. We know that it will be hard although it is a great opportunity to progress and we are in the competition to win it."

Liam Jack has been particularly effective in central defence, while Ross Millar and Alan Wilson have combined well up front. The Strollers' only injury concern is over Gerri Burgess, who has a groin problem.

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Edinburgh City joint manager John Green is still getting accustomed to East Seniors football after spending most of his career coaching juveniles.

He said: "Although I have stepped up, I have not changed my approach because the rules are the same and the issues are the same. I have settled in quickly because I can relate to players.

"My medium to long-term aim is to get Edinburgh City challenging regularly for honours. When Gary Jardine and I took over just before Christmas, our aim in the Premier Division was to get 30 points and we are now on 25 with two games left, so we are on track.

"Strollers won our last meeting 2-1 and were undoubtedly the better side. I anticipate another close game against a side who have certainly earned their spurs this season. I think that we are in for one heck of a game and we are all looking forward to it."

City's only injury doubt is Ross Guthrie.

The winners of the tie, which kicks off at 2.30pm, meet either Lothian Thistle or Gala Fairydean.