Motherwell begin the 2024 Scottish Cup journey with the visit of Alloa Athletic to Fir Park on Saturday.
A home draw against a team two levels below the Premiership should offer a straightforward path to the fifth round but Stuart Kettlewell will have his team well warned of the need to avoid complacency.
The loss of Callum Slattery to a season ending injury sustained on the training pitch is a bitter blow. The midfielder has already racked up twenty five appearances in claret and amber this campaign and his absence will cause unwelcome disruption. It would be a well timed coincidence if Lennon Miller is now fit to return.
We will probably see a debut for Adam Montgomery on the left of defence. His recruitment as the first import of the transfer window is a welcome beginning to the strengthening of the threadbare squad. With Dan Casey and Shane Blaney injured and unavailable the Motherwell back line will be stretched.
The transfer window has a couple of weeks to run and the need for more reinforcements is clear.
Alloa Athletic will have fond memories of the last visit to Fir Park. In August 1996 they knocked their hosts out of the League Cup with a penalty shootout win after a goalless draw. A repeat is unthinkable but memories of last season’s exit in Kirkcaldy still haunt the ‘Well support.
Andy Graham stepped up from the pitch to the manager’s office in November and a third round cup win at Dunbar lifted spirits. His team followed that with a five game unbeaten league run that has the Wasps in the middle of League One.
The main threats ‘Well will face come from Conor Sammon and Alistair Roy they have eleven goals between them this season. There has been no winter break in League One and Alloa earned a creditable point against Queen of the South in Dumfries last weekend.
No doubt the visitors will bring stiff resistance and a few challenges with them but few will expect anything other than a home win in regulation time. 2-0 as the Mighty ‘Well progress.