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PREVIEW: Hampden Next Up

Thu, 3rd Mar 2011 11:17pm

Jim Duffy spoke to www.clydefc.co.uk after the club's training session tonight as he prepared the squad for Saturday's away trip to Hampden to face Queen's Park…

"Obviously we've had a few players missing and we will continue to miss players on Saturday but as ever in these situations some players return and some other players will miss out. For example, tonight Kevin Finlayson and Nicki Paterson missed out training but gladly Ryan MacBeth is fully fit again and he will be back for Saturday."

Jim continued to give an update on the other players currently struggling for fitness…

"In defence, Alan Lithgow continues to be ruled out while Bryn Halliwell and Ross McMillan are only 50/50. Both Bryn and Ross did a little bit of training tonight but it was nowhere near a full session for them and we will just have to wait and see to how they react.

"Injuries are just part and parcel of the game, especially when you have so many matches close together. At this level, you have to wait and see how players react and we will see on Saturday who is ready. For some of the injuries we just have to be cautious. A player missing one week could miss much longer if you rush them back before they are ready. Charlie Miller had tight hamstrings so missed out midweek; it wasn’t a surprise after his long period out and we expected it but hopefully he will be back soon."

Up front there was mixed news. Positively, Willie Sawyers participated in his first training session with the squad since his latest operation but sadly Paul McMullan has had a setback. McMullan's fracture has not healed and his foot will again be put in plaster.

Duffy added, "Marc McCusker did not train tonight due to severe bruising, so we will have to see how he gets on. It is a blow as in and around the box he has been superb but whether you are 21 or 31 you still need to learn and we will do what we can to encourage his development as a player. He has great potential."

Despite the understandable focus on injuries, the manager was happier spending time on the players who have been available rather than those who have missed out. One striker who is fit and arguably enjoying his best form in a Clyde jersey is John Stewart. The manager has been delighted with his contribution:-

"John's enjoying his football and when players enjoy their football they tend to do well. The midfielders are creating chances and the strikers revel in getting opportunities. I've been really impressed with his performance levels, he has been different class for me.

"I thought we played really well on Tuesday, in every match to date our work rate has been good and the game at Stranraer was no exception. I felt the 3-1 scoreline was bit unkind as we lost goals chasing the match but once again the players stuck to their task well and it took a quite superb goal from Armand One to seal the victory for Stranraer. 

"It doesn’t get any easier at the weekend with the first of a double header against Queen's Park. The Spiders are the form team of the division, winning six games in a row. Gardner has the team playing really attractively. They move the ball around the pitch well and with pace so it will be a tough game but if we perform as we did against Stranraer then we can go into these matches with confidence."

Picture by Ian McFadyen