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Match Preview

Partick Thistle v Ross County – 30th December 2017

No matter what way you look at it, Saturday’s clash with County is a massive game for both sides. As well as three points the prize is a guaranteed place off the bottom of the table going into the January break which both managers will no doubt be desperate to achieve. It was business as usual for Jags boss, Alan Archibald, though as he spoke to ahead of the match at the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill.

Archie said: “It’s a massive game with a massive incentive for both sides. I think both teams will be coming into it with the same approach and the same desire to ensure they aren’t on the bottom of the table going into the break. If you get that victory it gives the whole place a lift and we’ll go into the break in a positive state of mind. Three points will also mean we stay in touching distance of everyone else and will give us the opportunity to start targeting the teams above us in the New Year.”

Like so many others Ross County took the decision to change their manager this season with the former Blackburn, Wigan, Bolton, Burnley and St Johnstone manager, Owen Coyle taking the reins.

“I know Owen well having worked briefly with him at Dundee United and he is a real infectious personality. He’s got a fantastic track record and I’m sure it will come good for him sooner rather than later – I just hope it isn’t Saturday.

“It’s all about us on Saturday though. As Partick Thistle we just need to do everything we can to get it right. Our record at home has actually been pretty strong over the last five games so we will be looking to take that confidence into Ross County and hopefully come away with the three points at the end of it.”

Although last Saturday’s victory over Hamilton Accies took Archibald’s side off the bottom, a solid performance in Aberdeen wasn’t enough to prevent the Jags returning to 12th spot on Wednesday night. Archibald knows how important it is to progress up the league and is determined not to be there heading into the break.

“We’re always aware of the league position but we can only control our own results and it’s in our hands to get off the bottom on Saturday. The priority for us is that we make sure we are still in touching distance come the winter break so that when we get our players back in January we can focus on achieving our goals for the second half of the season.”

With January now only days away it would be unusual if there wasn’t some update on potential transfer business. Archie though insists that, if he can get his injured players back, it will be like getting a handful of new players without needing to enter the transfer market.

“The situation in terms of January signings is still the same really. The feedback at the moment from our medical department is that we are going to have three or four back for the first game of the year and maybe one more shortly thereafter which would mean we might not have to do anything. Having said that we do still have a few targets in mind should we need to do business.”

The extent to which Archibald has to deal in January is dependent on the fitness of his existing squad. Although there is no certainty it would seem there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“We’re hoping to get a couple back but we’ve not really tried them yet. The four extra we had missing on Wednesday didn’t train on Thursday and the five long term ones will obviously still be out and Gary Fraser will definitely be out injured. There is a chance for Erskine, Woods and Doolan though so we’ll just need to see how they train today.”

More exclusive preview interviews with Adam Barton and Jags gaffer, Alan Archibald, are now available to Jagzone subscribers – log in to see them. Jagzone members will also be able to watch highlights of the game from midnight.

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