Whitehill can expect tough tie in Gretna

WHITEHILL WELFARE make the tricky journey for their first-ever meeting with Gretna 2008 in the semi-final of the SFA South Region Challenge Cup with the knowledge that the First Division's newcomers will not be easy opposition.

"I watched them win the Image Printers Cup last Sunday and I have seen them several other times," said Whitehill manager, Gary Aitchison.

"They are solid, they are young and fit, and work hard for each other. I have been particularly impressed with their two front men, Dan Carmichael and Tony Nicholson.

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"However, we have strength and experience in our side and we can use that against Gretna. They like to attack and so do we so we might end up with a 5-4 scoreline!

"None of my players have ever played at Raydale Park before, in fact, I'm the only one who has ever been there. We've had a really stop-start season because of the weather and this is a massive game.

"Gretna have proven that on their day they are a match for any team and they have a good chance of being promoted. We are going there with a full squad and are very optimistic. We can put the league business to one side and concentrate on this cup. We are just taking each game as it comes."

Aitchison could give a start to recent signing from Berwick Rangers, Craig Anderson, while captain Ross Johnston is fully fit.

Stuart Rome, the Gretna manager, said: "Our players' attitude is tremendous and we are all looking forward to playing Whitehill, who are an excellent side with a proud history.

"We will certainly have to be at our best because we know a lot about them. If we can get a similar performance to that which won us the cup last weekend then we are in with a chance."

Rome has added Ian Cummersky to his squad after his suspension while Steven Black, on loan from Queen of the South, is also available.