Friday 18th January, 2019 at 4:35pm
This weekend, Partick Thistle go into their first cup competition of 2019 as they begin their William Hill Scottish Cup journey for this season. The Jags face Stranraer at home as they seek to secure progression in Scotland’s oldest cup competition.
Thistle beat Stranraer 5-0 in the Irn Bru Cup earlier this season but know that they can’t take anything for granted against a good Blues side.
Jags boss, Gary Caldwell, spoke to ptfc.co.uk ahead of the fixture.
The gaffer began by explaining that even though Stranraer are from the league below Thistle, the Jags have been treating them with the same respect that they do any other opponent.
“The focus and desire is very much the same from the boys. There is always a certain buzz about cup games and everyone will be ready to give their all during the match.
“The cup gives us a bit of respite from the league and gives us the chance to get that win which will hopefully boost everyone’s confidence a bit. Having said that, we know that we can’t just take the win for granted, we will need to work hard to make sure we are in the hat for the next round.”
Although Caldwell thinks that Stranraer will give the Maryhill men a tougher game than they did back in August, he feels that the experience of playing against them previously could be useful for his squad.
“Footage isn’t as easy to come by for League One games but we have watched their last few games and had reports on them as well. The fact that have played them already this season should be a help too.
“It’s the same manager and players for the most part so that Irn Bru Cup game will have given the boys a taste of their style of play and will hopefully help them in dealing with Stranraer this time round.”
This week, Gary made his sixth signing as manager of the Club in the form of Lewis Mansell and he says the squad is getting closer to what he was looking for at the start of the window.
“I think there’s been improvement with the new boys coming in but I don’t think it’s happening quickly enough. Our performances have been good since the turn of the year but, crucially, that’s not translated into wins and that has to change.
“Lewis coming in represents another piece of the puzzle in place. He offers something a bit different as a tall, physical striker who also has decent mobility and hopefully he can contribute plenty in his time here.”
Nevertheless, the Jags manager feels there’s still more needed to get the team to where he wants them to be.
“We’ve had a few players leave the Club this month which means there are still funds there for me to use. We do still need at least another couple of bodies in to improve the squad and we’re constantly looking for the right signings.
“We had a clear plan at the start of the window which has put us in good stead in terms of transfer dealings but that plan hasn’t been completed yet.”
The Thistle boss rounded off his update by touching on the fitness of his squad.
“Credit to our physio and sports science department. Since I joined there have been very few issues with injury other than the continued recovery of the long term guys. It’s the same again this week with a full consignment of fit players.
“Coulibaly will feature on the bench against Stranraer. Soul’s fitness has improved and although he still isn’t fully fit he is fit enough to possibly play a role tomorrow.”
More exclusive preview interviews with Gary Harkins, Callum Wilson and Jags gaffer, Gary Caldwell, are available to Jagzone subscribers – log in now to see them.
Jagzone members will also be able to watch extended highlights of the game.
Can’t make it to the The Energy Check Stadium at Firhill? Jagzone members can listen to live audio commentary of the match. JagZoneLIVE begins at 2:45pm on Saturday.
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