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Bonnyrigg Rose preview

Six cup finals stand between Stranraer and the safety of League Two football for another season.

The Blues sit second bottom of the table with just half a dozen games left to play.

Bonnyrigg Rose, now under the management of Calum Elliot, are the first of those important matches on Saturday.

Chris McQueen stressed everyone understood the importance of the next few weeks as the season enters the final straight.

He said: “Everybody knows what is at stake.

“They are two teams that have been struggling recently.

“It is set up for the rest of the season to either put a gap between teams or leave you chasing.”

The central defender, who joined from East Kilbride, felt players at their Midlothian visitors would be out to impress their new manager, as well as trying to ease their own fears of finishing bottom.

However, the Blues have shown what they are capable of this season, particularly at Stair Park.

A memorable 5-0 win against Dumbarton earlier this month shows what the hosts can do when they are on form.

Unfortunately, the Blues have not picked up a single point since that showing.

Now, they need to try to serve up another impressive showing before back-to-back away games.

McQueen has been a regular since joining the club from East Kilbride

McQueen acknowledged inconsistency had plagued the club’s campaign at times.

He said: “It is a young group.

“It is trying to find a middle ground between that Dumbarton game to games where have thrown them away or not really taken part in them.

“It is a wee bit of a consistency thing.

“With all these games coming up, everybody knows what is at stake.

“They are all massive games now.

“Everybody needs to show up for them all.

“There cannot be really games where we take our foot off the gas or not show up with the right mindset.

“Every game we need to be ready to go and put in a good performance.”

Last weekend saw Stranraer surrender a 1-0 lead at East Fife on their way to defeat.

Matty Grant’s strike was cancelled out by a James Lyon effort 10 minutes after the restart and Jack Healy netted the winner with six minutes left.

McQueen was an unused substitute for the first time this season when the Blues visited Bayview Stadium.

The defender is fit to play and was hoping to force his way back into the manager’s thinking.

He said: “I’m ready and I have played basically every game apart from last week.

“There is no issue.

“If the manager chooses to play me then that is good but if not I will be ready to come on.”

Last meeting

A goalless draw at New Dundas Park saw the spoils shared back at the beginning of February.

Conor Doan had the first effort of the game with a volley into the ground, which Kieran McGachie failed to divert beyond Lewis Budinauckas.

At the other end, a fantastic Paddy Martin save denied Finn Ecrepont, who stole possession near the halfway line before taking aim from outside of the box.

Angus Mailer missed a good chance to break the deadlock before the interval.

James Dolan was then denied by Martin as neither team could find the vital goal.

Bonnyrigg Rose: Martin, Mailer, Martyniuk, Young, Mercer (Jarvis 80), Peggie, Doan (Watson 72), Barrett (Osadolor 89), Connolly, McGachie (Byrne 72), Currie.
Not used: Gormley, Stewart, McGale and Andrews.

Stranraer: Budinauckas, Robertson (Orr 76), Girvan, Ross, McQueen, Ecrepont, Dolan, Forrest, Fleming, Grant, Gilmartin (Lang 64).
Not used: Williamson, McIntosh and Downie.

Last five meetings

  • Bonnyrigg Rose 0 Stranraer 0 at New Dundas Park on February 3, 2024
  • Stranraer 3 Bonnyrigg Rose 1 (Own goal, Grant and Ross; Barrett) at Stair Park on December 16, 2023
  • Bonnyrigg Rose 1 Stranraer 1 (Martyniuk (Pen); Lang) at New Dundas Park on August 19, 2023
  • Bonnyrigg Rose 1 Stranraer 0 (McGachie) at New Dundas Park on April 1, 2023
  • Stranraer 0 Bonnyrigg Rose 1 (Faye) at Stair Park on February 11, 2023

Last five games

Matty Grant scored the opener at Bayview last weekend

Stranraer

  • LOSS v East Fife (A): 2-1 (Grant)
  • LOSS v Elgin City (H): 1-2 (Own goal)
  • LOSS v Peterhead (A): 2-0
  • WIN v Dumbarton (H): 5-0 (Own goal, Grant, Forrest, Armour and Lang)
  • DRAW v Forfar Athletic (H): 0-0

Bonnyrigg Rose

  • LOSS v Dumbarton (A): 2-0
  • LOSS v Clyde (H): 1-2 (Osadolor)
  • LOSS v Elgin City (A): 1-0
  • DRAW v Spartans (H): 2-2 (McGachie and Byrne (Pen))
  • LOSS v Stenhousemuir (H): 0-1

Last time out

Thomas Orr started up top for the Blues against East Fife

Stranraer

Lineup v East Fife: Budinauckas, Robertson (Gilmartin 88), Girvan, Ross, Ecrepont, Gallagher, Dolan (Johnston 89), Fleming, Grant, Armour (McIntosh 84), Orr (Lang 65).
Not used: Williamson, McQueen, Hawkshaw, Miller and Downie.

Bonnyrigg Rose

Lineup v Dumbarton: Martin, Mailer, Martyniuk, Dunsmore (McGale 49), Grigor, Peggie, Stewart (Byrne 59), Doan (Watson 75), Connolly, Currie (Jarvis 59), Osadolor (Barrett 75).
Not used: Gormley, Gray and Andrews.

Five facts

Stephen Okoh made 20 substitute appearances in the 2017/18 season

1. Between them, Stranraer and Bonnyrigg Rose have taken a total of five points from a possible 30 over the last five games for each team.

2. Goalkeeper Conor Brennan turns 30 tomorrow (Saturday). The shotstopper joined the Blues on loan from Kilmarnock when Brian Reid took the manager’s position. He went on to play for Raith Rovers, Greenock Morton, Brechin City, Dumbarton, East Kilbride and Stenhousemuir, as well as Ballymena United. At Stair Park, he made six appearances. His final appearance came at Easter Road where a Scott Rumsby own goal was all that separated the two sides.

3. Josh Walker is the only Stranraer player to have scored more than once against Bonnyrigg Rose. The Midlothian side’s Neil Martyniuk has scored twice against the Blues.

4. New Bonnyrigg Rose manager Calum Elliot has a 100 per cent winning record at Stair Park. He was part of the Alloa team, alongside Kevin Cawley, Martin Grehan and Mark Docherty, that won 2-1 in March 2013. Graeme Holmes and Ryan McCord scored for the Wasps before a late consolation from Robert Love. The home team that day was: Mitchell, Kinnaird, McKeown, Dunlop, Campbell (One 75), Aitken, Gallagher, Winter (Love 51), Moore (Borris 46), Malcolm, Gribben. Not used: Agnew and Cadwell.

5. Deryn Lang came off the bench for the 19th time last week at East Fife. That was the most substitute appearances from a player since Stephen Okoh in 2017/18. The frontman came off the bench 20 times, alongside 19 starts.

Admission

You can pay at the gate at Stair Park

Admission at Stair Park is on a ‘pay at the gate’ basis, with pricing as follows:

  • Adult – £15
  • Concession – £10
  • 5 to 16 Years Old – £5
  • Under 5 – FREE

A range of Stranraer FC merchandise is available at the back of the main McLeans Taxis stand, and the Pavilion Bar at the ground provides a warm welcome for both home and away supporters from 1pm.

You can support the club by picking up a 50/50 draw ticket along with your teamsheet at the turnstile.

Coverage

Will the Blues commentary team be celebrating this weekend?

Follow coverage from Stair Park this weekend across our media channels.

As ever, you can follow live matchday updates on X (formerly Twitter) for the latest news throughout the afternoon.

The manager’s interview will be available on YouTube during the evening, and Club 1870 subscribers can watch the goals before midnight and an exclusive reaction from a player post-match.

Extended highlights will follow on Sunday morning, with full match footage available via Club 1870 on Sunday afternoon.

Photos: Bill McCandlish