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Match Preview

Hamilton Academical v Partick Thistle – 19th March 2016

Thistle travel to Hamilton on Saturday as the side begin a four game spell which part of the split Thistle will be playing their final five league games on the 2015/16 season. chatted to Alan Archibald on Friday morning to get his thoughts ahead of an incredibly difficult clash.

“It’s going to be a very tough game. We’re going from games against the best sides in the league, to a run of three games against teams around us and these are the games which will determine which portion of the split we’ll end up in. We’ll have to be at our best to get three points from New Douglas Park on Saturday.

“People will look at the run of fixtures we’ve just had and think we’re facing an easier game by playing Hamilton. That is not the case. They are a side who are fighting for their lives, as are we, and we’ll have to ensure we replicate the performances we produced against Hearts, Aberdeen and Celtic to give us the best opportunity for success.”

The last three games between the sides have ended in draws and the gaffer knows another close game is in prospect.

“We’ve had a lot of close battles since they came up to the Premiership a couple of years ago and there is no reason to expect tomorrow’s game to be any different. They will be full of confidence after a good win in Inverness last weekend and we’ll have to be wary of the dangers they pose. We know how they will impose themselves on the game and it’s up to us to match up to the challenge.

“We’ll have to be up for the fight tomorrow and win every second ball, as Hamilton will be keen to get the points which will see them overtake us in the league. They’ll be missing a couple of players through suspension, but the players who replace them will be looking to cement a starting position of their own and will make for a tough opponent.”

The squad will be missing a number of first team faces tomorrow as the side line up in Lanarkshire.

“Stuart Bannigan will miss the rest of the season. It’s gutting to lose Stuart from our midfield as he’s been absolutely outstanding for us this season. There is still a lot of swelling around his knee and he’ll have to go back to see the specialist in a couple of weeks to get a full diagnosis. We hope for Stuart that his injury isn’t more serious than just causing him to miss the end of this campaign.

“Frederic Frans will miss the game due to a family bereavement, while the game comes too soon for Mustapha Dumbuya. He has reacted well to an injection earlier this week and he has been involved in training, but it is just too soon for him. We’ll be looking to monitor him during the international break and hope to have him back fully fit for the run-in.”

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