Here we go again, nine somewhat quick weeks after securing promotion against Clyde at Hampden we return to competitive action as we get the 2016/17 season underway. The close season inevitably saw some departures from the ranks as Messer’s Muir and Berry left for pastures new but it also saw no fewer than six new faces brought in as Gus looks to bolster every area of his first team squad ahead of what is guaranteed to be a challenging season.
A late change of venue now sees us head to Airdrie and our old stomping ground of the Excelsior Stadium where we face Championship side Queen of the South in the first of four upcoming Betfred Cup fixtures.
Ahead of the tie, the club web team caught up with manager Gus MacPherson to gather his views on all things Queen’s Park over the close season and to preview this Saturday’s cup tie.
The gaffer acknowledged that pre-season had went very well, stating; “The players have worked very hard throughout the close season and although we have encountered the problems that any part time side would face, such as players having work and other commitments, it’s went well. We played four games which we utilised to give the entire squad some game time and to the end it’s been successful”.
“Over the close season the squad was weakened with the departure of key players such as Vinny Berry and Willie Muir but I feel we have strengthened in many areas of the park which is something we had to do with a testing season ahead”.
Looking ahead to Saturday’s game there was mixed emotion as Gus said; “It will without doubt be a very tough test for the players against a good Queen of the South side. We need to ensure that we work hard and compete in every area of the park. It will be a test for the players but one which I’m sure they are ready for. The only disappointment for me is that we have lost our home advantage with the game now being played at The Excelsior”.
On the injury front a disappointed MacPherson confirmed that midfielder Jamie McKernon has suffered a re-occurrence of his recent foot injury and this will rule him out for around three months. Gus did however indicate that with McKernon out of the squad, it presents the opportunity for others in the squad to stake their claim for a regular staring spot in the middle of the park.
The opposition: The Championship side have a squad which contains a healthy mix of young and experienced players and have had a positive pre-season having picked up five victories from five games. Those wins came against against Dalbeattie Star, Gretna 2008, South Shields, Annan Athletic and Penrith.
Head to head: Played 107; Queen’s Park 32; Draw 17; Queen of the South 58.
Admission prices: Adults £12, Concession (Senior/Unemployed/Children) £2, Parent and child £13 (plus £1 for each additional child).
Supporters travel: In order to assist Spiders fans with travel there will be a coach departing from Lesser Hampden at 2pm. Tickets for this will be available at the bar from 1pm, on a first come first served basis. There will be no charge to supporters for this service.
Match officials: Referee – Alan Newlands. Assistants – Alan Mulvanny and Ross Anderson.
Twitter: Live updates available via @QueensParkFC
Other Betfred Cup Group E fixtures: Airdrionians v Partick Thistle (Fri)
Next match: v Stenhousemuir at Ochilview on Tuesday 19th July, 7.30pm kick off.