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    Allan Maitland previews Ayr United game 

    Friday, February 06, 2009 1:51:40 PM

    Today we welcome Brian Reid, Scott McKenzie, the players, Directors and all the supporters of Ayr United FC who have travelled through for today’s game, which both clubs will feel is vital for completely different reasons.
    Last weekend we suffered another away defeat when we lost 1-0 at Arbroath in a game that we travelled to with high expectations after recent decent form. What we didn’t expect was a howling gale that made the game an absolute farce for both teams and reduced the match to a lottery, which we lost with the award of a penalty in the second half. While I was obviously aware of the conditions I would like our team to find the ability to dig out result on days like that and show the appetite needed to start winning matches away from the “Recs”. In the ninety minutes there was not one clear cut chance created by either side, which was hardly surprising when it was impossible to control the ball in the wind, but again we found ourselves on the bus with a long, reflective journey home. Our last home match was a very creditable draw against Raith Rovers who currently sit at the top of the league and we will need to produce another performance like that if we are to get anything from today’s game.
    Ayr staged a superb comeback last week from 2-0 down to secure a valuable point against Raith Rovers and more importantly stopped them from extending their lead at the top of the league. The equalizing goal was scored by Scott Agnew who now appears to be settling into the team and producing the form he managed with us last season, however I have to say that I don’t remember him ever winning a header with us never mind scoring with one. With their draw and televised replay in the cup against Kilmarnock, our opponents will feel much better placed financially and I was delighted to see that they managed to get their game against Arbroath switched to the Sunday – if we can help any of the sides in our division financially (especially in today’s climate) then surely we should make every effort to do so. With the injury to Brian Prunty, the onus on scoring goals has returned to Alex Williams and he will be aided in that department with the signing of Mark Roberts from Partick Thistle who is an excellent striker and a huge favorite with the Thistle fans.
    We are now very much in a relegation fight and will need to start showing the spirit and determination that we found three seasons ago when our fate appeared inevitable. Now we have better players but we have “all” underperformed to the extent that we are looking every Saturday for results involving Arbroath, Stranraer and Queens Park instead of those battling for promotion and league success. I have tried to make changes to the squad by making it leaner in terms of numbers with Jamie’s loan deal finishing, the release of Broonie, and loan deals involving Fraser Forrest and Steven McKeown and creating space for Stuart Noble, Brian Carrigan and hopefully at least one more before today’s game. The squad sometimes requires a change just to give it a lift and that is where I believe we are right now regardless of how well these players have done in the past.
    I am fully aware how disappointed every Alloa fan is with our results especially after the team doing so well last season and we now have to pull together to make sure the next 3 months show a dramatic improvement and get ourselves out of the position we find ourselves in right now.
    Lastly I’d like to welcome Brian Carrigan to the club – Brian is a player with exceptional quality and a tremendous footballing brain and while I realize we need to work on his fitness levels I’m sure he will be a great asset to the club till the end of the season.

    Thank you all for your support and I hope you enjoy today’s game.

    Allan Maitland

    Managers Corner