The Derby that all Scottish football is waiting for on the 2nd of January is going ahead, as the Blue Toon host Cove Rangers, and shot-stopper Brett Long is hoping that 2022 gets off to a flyer for the hosts.
The sides met on the first day of the 2021/22 season in the Premier Sports Cup, with Peterhead running out 3-1 winners, however Cove have had their revenge with a controversial penalty seeing them earn a 1-0 success on league duty in September with the Balmoor men’s last performance against Paul Hartley’s side being one to forget as Cove ran out 3-0 winners back in November.
Despite the home side’s strong performance that day, Long believes Peterhead are ready to bounce back in front of a home crowd as he said: “That day they had a very good team and played very well whilst we just weren’t at it at all. It could’ve been worse to be honest as none of us were at it.”
“However, this week the mood in the camp is good, we’re well drilled and we know what to expect from them and their movement.”
“Also, with us being at home it’s a totally different game than playing at Cove. They like their artificial pitch and they like to pass it but our grass pitch makes it a totally different game. You could see that earlier in the year in the League Cup when we won and it was a tight game afterwards in the league.”
“That means we are going into this game confident especially as our home record is good and we’ve have been playing well recently. I don’t think we should fear anyone in this league”.
It’s been almost two weeks since we last saw Jim McInally’s side in action, and Long reckons that the players are happy to be back after the Christmas Break as he explained: “There are pros and cons, obviously it is good to spend time with your family for Christmas and get a break but the boys were delighted to see each other when we trained on Tuesday and Thursday.”
“There’s a good buzz about the place. Everyone’s glad to be back into it and looking forward to the game against Cove. Hopefully we get a positive result and remain high in the table”.
Peterhead left Angus empty handed in their last game just three days before Christmas as Montrose picked up a 2-0 victory, with Long seeing the game as one of those nights where not everything clicked despite promising signs.
Long said “I think it was a bit of a stuffy game. We had a lot of the ball but we just couldn’t seem to get that final ball or final pass. It was a frustrating night for all of us. They did not have many chances themselves but they’re clinical, they’re clever with how they play, well experienced and organised. Sometimes it’s just one of those nights were it’s not going for you and unfortunately that was one of them for us.”
Manager McInally gave an update on the injured Scott Brown, Simon Ferry, Andrew McCarthy and Grant Savoury at the beginning of the week and Long feels that if the quartet are available, it will be a big boost for the Blue Toon as he added: “They are very good players and if they’re able to play it is good for us. They’re a big part of our team so it’d be great to have them back and get them involved for Sunday”.
“It will give the manager a headache, but a good headache as he would have selection issues all over the place.”