By Connor Ryan
Rovers make their return to Cliftonhill for the first time this year as we aim to continue our resurgent brilliant form against Forfar Athletic.
Going into Saturday’s game, Rovers have won their previous fixtures of 2023 with back-to-back 4-0 score-lines over Bonnyrigg Rose and Stranraer, taking us off the bottom of the table into 9th. Forfar meanwhile sit just two points above Rovers in 7th place but have seen four wins out of their last five, including an impressive 2-1 victory over league leaders Dumbarton in their last outing. Both Rovers and Forfar missed out on playing last weekend due to the Scottish Cup fourth round being played as well as Forfar’s fixture against Stirling Albion being postponed due to a frozen pitch. Rovers have no suspensions to deal with however captain Sean Fagan, Liam Fagan, and Michael Paton all remain out through injury.
Both sides have faced each other twice already this season with Forfar managing two wins and two clean sheets in a 2-0 win at Cliftonhill and a 1-0 win at Station Park. Goals from Mathew Aitken and Kyle Hutton secured the three points in the first meeting, while a Ben Armour strike won the game for Ray McKinnon’s men in the most recent encounter. Rovers will have to look out for the dangerous attacking partnership of Aitken and Armour who have managed six and four goals this season respectively.
Despite a poor record against Forfar, with a last win for us coming against The Loons dating back to 2017, Rovers have plenty to be confident about after overcoming their poor run of form that they ended 2022 with. The recent wins over Bonnyrigg and Stranraer have given Rovers a finding of confidence once again, putting us back in the play-off race as we sit four points behind 4th place Annan Athletic.
New signing Joe Bevan from Camelon Juniors is also already showing promise with a great contribution so far by scoring against Stranraer. Charlie Reilly continues his superb form as he leads the goals and assists chart with 20 goal contributions in 20 games (13 goals & 7 assists) and has already bagged four goals since the turn of the year. The defence has also set a great standard too with only three shots on target conceded in the last two games allowing for a double clean sheet, while the whole team have played much more freely and dominant in the wins against Bonnyrigg and Stranraer with much more attempts on goal and a firm control on possession.
The Cinch League Two play-off race/relegation battle hasn’t been this heated in a long time with only nine points to separate 3rd and 10th place. Saturday is an important chance for us to steer away from the drop and push towards the play-offs so get down to Cliftonhill if you can to back the Rovers!
Ticketing information is listed below for Saturday’s match: