Thistle 24h on

Last updated : 27 April 2003 By Firparkcorner

The defence. We have lost seven goals in our last two games and the back four have generally looked like a shambles. Vaughan and Partridge who were previously solid have looked very edgy and in general the less said about our full backs the better. Even Frankie DuBourdeau, initially outstanding when he came into the side, has been at fault for a few goals recently and he certainly hasn’t made the ‘good’ saves that he did a while ago. The solution? Well, various posters on the message board have suggested a return for Stevie Woods. That the idea hasn’t initiated an outraged response from a lot people shows just how out of form FdB is at the minute.

However, if the defence does not improve we could have anyone between the sticks and it would not matter. A change to three centre backs will give us a spare man in the middle and hopefully this will ease the pressure on Partridge and Vaughan. Whether or not the new centre half should be Kinniburgh or Corrigan is debatable. Corrigan’s best position is in the middle but that would leave Ramsay or Cowan at right wing back. Despite’s Kinniburgh’s previous good performances, the merits of throwing a kid in at centre half in a relegation crunch match have to be considered carefully.

The midfield. The midfield was totally outfought at Firhill and was never really in the game. A midfield four that contains two strikers and a defender is always going to struggle. If we do move to three at the back, the midfield will pick itself. Hammell will be on the left, the three in the middle will Pearson, Leitch and Adams. The right hand berth can be filled by one of Cowan, Ramsay or Corrigan, depending on who plays in the back three. The midfield is where relegation battles can be won and lost and we will need to put up a much better effort against United than we did against Thistle.

The attack. McFadden performs better when he is near the opponents goal and despite his below average performance against Thistle, we cannot drop our potential match winner. Who partners him is anyone’s guess although Stephen Craig was probably on the best form, at least before being moved to midfield against Thistle. Dirk Lehmann worked hard as usual but he just hasn’t been producing. Clarkson is talented but is probably not quite as good as Craig at holding the ball up and trying to win headers. Whoever we play up front should be good enough to cause a shaky United defence problems, our main difficulty might be getting them the service.

Hibs’ winning goal at Tannadice was absolutely laughable and the Dundee United defence will be as nervous as ours. If we put pressure on them, we might get the vital goals we need to survive.

The fans. We’ve had some up and downs this season but we need everyone to be right behind the team again. Entry prices have been cut so drag along everyone you know who has expressed an interest in Motherwell and have them cheering on the side.

Losing this game is not worth contemplating.