Sidelined for the moment, Deryn Lang is raring to get involved with Stranraer.
The frontman caught the eye of manager Scott Agnew and scored a brace in a pre-season contest with Kilwinning Rangers.
On the same evening, he also picked up an ankle knock which means the Stair Park faithful are yet to see him in action.
He is heading in the right direction, however, on the road to a debut and was already enjoying life at the club.
Speaking at full time on Saturday, he said: “It was a wee bit of a dent in my confidence getting the injury in my last game for the club against Kilwinning.
“We tried some running today and we have been doing some plyometrics.
“Mostly, just trying to put some weight on the ankle and it is looking good so far.
“We will, hopefully, get another couple of sessions under the belt and then we can integrate into the team from there.
“I’m looking forward to it; it’s quite exciting.
“We reckon it will be another two to three weeks – hopefully two weeks – on the good side.”
The move to Stranraer represents a step up for the Motherwell-based man.
Last season, he was firing them in for Lanark United in the ninth tier of the Scottish football pyramid – the West of Scotland Football League Third Division.
Now, instead of trips to Lugar, Lesmahagow and Kirkconnel, he can look forward to visits to Peterhead, Dumbarton and Edinburgh.
He said: “I’m very excited but obviously I cannot be too eager to come back because I want to make sure my ankle is alright.
“Once my ankle is okay and I’m good to go, hopefully I am fine and 100 per cent ready.
“It is, obviously, a big step up for myself and something I am eager to take a crack at.
“I’m confident, believe in my abilities and will take it from there.
“You take a crack at it and if you don’t try then you will never know.”
He is yet to pull on a Stranraer strip in a competitive outing but is already settling into the squad.
The chemical engineering graduate is car sharing with fellow former West of Scotland Football League man Matty Grant.
Lang added: “We go and pick up a few of the other boys and it breaks up the journey.
“In the car, you are not sitting in silence and we get talking and obviously get to know each other.”
The last meeting between Annan Athletic and Stranraer marked the first competitive encounter between the sides that had finished goalless.
The Blues ventured along the A75 buoyed by a 1-0 win over Albion Rovers, which saw Stranraer play 45 minutes with 10 men. The draw at Galabank made it three games unbeaten. Robert McCartney came close at one end while Aaron Brown tested Greg Fleming at the other. Ultimately, neither team could find a way to break the deadlock.
Annan Athletic: Fleming, Gibson, Kilsby, Swinglehurst, Lyon, Docherty (Hooper 76), Johnston (Luissint 58), Muir, McCartney (Wallace 76), Smith, Goss (Galloway 82).
Not used: Steele, Barnes, Williamson, McMenamin and Mitchell.
Stranraer: O’Connor, Robertson, Girvan, Ecrepont, Watt, Gallagher, Forrest (Hilton 67), McIntosh, Grant, Walker (Malcolm 89), Brown (Ngandu 67).
Not used: Brady, Duffy and Scullion.
Last five meetings
- Annan Athletic 0 Stranraer 0 at Galabank on March 25, 2023
- Stranraer 1 Annan Athletic 1 (Hawkshaw; Smith) at Stair Park on November 26, 2022
- Annan Athletic 1 Stranraer 1 (Galloway; Hilton) at Galabank on October 15, 2022
- Stranraer 1 Annan Athletic 0 (Woods (Pen)) at Stair Park on July 30, 2022
- Annan Athletic 4 Stranraer 1 (Wallace, Barnes, Garrity and Clark; Hawkshaw) at Galabank on March 5, 2022
Last five games
- DRAW v East Fife (H): 1-1 (Orr)
- WIN v Elgin City (A): 0-1 (Dolan)
- LOSS v Kelty Hearts (A): 2-0
- WIN v Edinburgh City (H): 2-1 (Armour and Orr)
- LOSS v Greenock Morton (A): 3-0
- LOSS v Montrose (H): 1-3 (Cross-Adair)
- LOSS v Falkirk (A): 3-0
- LOSS v Raith Rovers (H): 2-3 (Galloway and Luissint)
- LOSS v Albion Rovers (H): 1-2 (Goss)
- LOSS v Dunfermline Athletic (A): 4-0
Last time out
Lineup v East Fife: M McDonald, Williamson, Girvan, Ross, Gallagher (Robertson 47), Dolan (Walker 89), Forrest, Fleming, McIntosh, Armour, Orr (O McDonald 59).
Not used: Hughes and O’Connor.
Lineup v Montrose: Fleming, Kilsby, Douglas, Hooper, Gibson, Dixon (Smith 46), Luissint, Docherty, Garrity, Galloway, Cross-Adair.
Not used: Muir, Maxwell, Jamieson, Cranston, Trialist, McMenamin and Mitchell.
1. In the 540 minutes of league football since Scott Agnew took charge, Stranraer have yet to be behind for a single minute.
2. Six points and four places separated Stranraer and Annan Athletic last term. The Galabankies sealed promotion via the play-offs but were unable to defeat Stranraer in the four league outings. In contrast, Annan were undefeated against Stranraer during the previous campaign.
3. Stranraer and Annan Athletic have only met once in the SPFL Trust Trophy/League Challenge Cup. That came almost 10 years ago. Kenny Mackay had the visitors to Stair Park two goals up before Chris Aitken pulled one back from the penalty spot. Martin Grehan scored with five minutes remaining but David Hopkirk won it for Annan.
4. Celebrating his 40th birthday tomorrow (Tuesday), defender Graham Guy joined the Blues from St Mirren in 2003. He made 22 appearances for Stranraer and found the net twice. Both goals – on separate occasions – came in victories over Dumbarton.
5. Stranraer’s last game on this calendar date provided a little piece of history. The Blues travelled to Clyde on 15 August 2017 and came from 2-0 down to progress in the cup. Martin McNiff and former Stranraer man Smart Osadolor had the hosts two goals in front early in the second half. Scott Agnew scored from the penalty spot before a Jordan Stewart own goal saw the game level again. Ryan Wallace scored in extra time before Jamie Hamill came off the bench to become the first Stranraer player to step off the bench as the fourth substitute in a competitive game. The Stranraer team: Belford, Robertson, Dick, Barron (Thomson 56), Lang, Bell, Woods (Wallace 56), Agnew (Hamill 108), Anderson, Okoh, Turner (Stoney 76). Not used: Neill, McKinlay and Currie.
Reduced admission prices have been agreed between the clubs, with tickets available via Annan’s online ticketing platform.
With streaming restrictions eased for cup games, the home side are also offering live video coverage for Saturday’s game priced at £10.
The stream is produced by the Pixellot automated camera system, with commentary by the familiar voice of Gordon Hyslop.