Motherwell will kick off their league campaign with a trip to Easter Road on Sunday. The first priority is to secure top level status but beyond that some are talking of targeting the top half of the table.
Following our mixed form in the Betfred group games there is a degree of uncertainty about our prospects in Leith. Routine wins over Edinburgh City and Queen of the South offered hope but struggles against Stranraer and Clyde cast some doubt over our early season prospects.
Happy 'Well fans at Easter Road last season
Instead of starting afresh with a fully fit top eleven we are already hindered by the loss of Dunne to a groin injury. And the sight of Bowman last weekend watching from the sidelines with a heavy protective ankle boot suggested he has some way to go to reach match fitness. Indeed, at todatto press briefing Stephen Robinson let it be known that it may be six weeks until he returns.
The manager has used most of his first team players in the last few weeks as he assessed his options but there has been no opportunity for Bigirimana to show his skills. The acquisition of Johnson with, his similar build to Main, suggests that our strategy will remain to play the direct game with Frear used to provide telling deliveries from the wing.
Hibs have been spared the joys of the League Cup group stage with their involvement on the Europa League. Last week had them produce a stirring recovery at Easter Road before Thurday’s return leg in Greece. Whether their tough introduction to the season will prove beneficial for their opening league game or if the midweek exertions and travel have a price will be known by Sunday’s close of play.
Campbell and Maguire have to serve a suspension as does Hibs’ Whittaker.
Our first visit to Easter Road last season had Motherwell fans happy to escape with a 2-2 draw. The same result would be welcome this time.