Martin expects tough game against former club

Queen of the South goalkeeper Alan Martin expects a tough match this evening against his former side Dumbarton as the Sons play the Doonhamers in the SPFL Ladbrokes Championship. Manager, Gary Naysmith, is hoping for a revitalised look about his side after a heavy 3-0 home defeat to Livingston at Palmerston Park at the weekend.

The former East Fife gaffer, speaking of Saturday’s match against Livingston to QOSTV, said:

“We were below our normal standards. We were flat and we looked sluggish. That didn’t seem the case during the week in training where the players looked energetic and we thought we had given them just enough [work] – I don’t feel we over-trained them or anything like that – but for some reason we were just really sluggish.

It’d be easy for me to stand here and blame the amount of games we’ve had recently but I genuinely don’t think it was that: apart from Alan Martin, who I felt played well, I thought the rest were off their game today; when you have 6 or 7 off your normal standards then it makes it impossible for us. We seemed to lack an energy or an invention to spark us into life and get us going again. I need to give the players the benefit of the doubt that over the last 9 or 10 matches, apart from maybe 10 or 15 minutes here or there, we have been decent, so I hope it has been just one off but I would rather reserve judgement on that until after Tuesday’s game.”

Naysmith is keen to make sure his players are fully ready ahead of tonight’s trip to the YOUR Radio 103FM Stadium.

“We looked physically and mentally tired,” continues Naysmith to QOSTV. “I need to make sure we are fully recovered and ready to go. Ky [Kyle Jacobs] is suspended so we maybe need to freshen it up a little bit and get some energy into the team. There will be stuff we talk about but we need to make sure we don’t give them too many negatives on Monday considering we play on the Tuesday. We will address the things that went wrong but the most important come Monday for the players is that we move on and focus on Dumbarton. I want the players to be hurting as I am tonight and tomorrow but we need to move on quickly on Monday ahead of a tough, tough, game on Tuesday.”

Similarly, goalkeeper Alan Martin was disappointed with the overall team performance against early title contenders, Livi.

“We have to hold our hands up. None of us showed up today. It is one of those games where we hope it is just a blip and we didn’t deserve anything out of the game to be honest. They were a horrible team to play against: we just couldn’t match what they had to give us. We just couldn’t sort it out over the 90 minutes. They took our chances and that is what happens in football. We need to start taking our chances – you look at it week-on-week where you look at our team and you say “wow, there are goals in it” but we don’t seem to be putting our chances away recently.”

Martin will be returning to the club he left in the summer for the Doonhamers for the first time. Speaking to QOSTV about the match against the Sons, the shot-stopper commented:

“I think we have only lost 4 games in 23 – I know there are a lot of draws in there but the teams we have been beaten off of are the ones who are up there fighting for promotion with the big budgets. We are just as good as any team in this league. Hopefully on Tuesday we can get a win and put things back on track to how they should be. It will be nice to go back but it will be even better to go back and take 3 points – I would be delighted with that. The good thing is we can make things right quickly; the Livingston match will be forgotten about if everything goes well.

If we go into Tuesday and lose 3 goals then you can maybe question “what is going on here?”. There are a lot of strong characters in the dressing room and I am pretty sure that won’t be the case. We will be going out there on Tuesday for 3 points.”

Praising the work that Stevie Aitken has done to keep Dumbarton in the Championship over the last few years, and commenting on how difficult tonight’s match will be, Martin concluded:

“Everyone wrote Dumbarton off last year too when I was there. Behind the scenes, part-time or not, they are fit; the boys will do their own bit if they aren’t training. They will go to work then they will go to the gym. It is a lot of hours and a lot of travelling but it is what these boys want to do and they work hard at it. Stevie always works hard with his team: the boys who go out there and play give everything because this is their livelihood. It doesn’t matter if you are part-time or not in this league, you need to be up to the standard or you won’t be in it.

It will be a horrible, horrible, night – there is no doubt about it. There is going to be a small pitch; it is going to be windy; it is going to be wet and very cold, but, this is no different to any other game; we just need to treat it the same way. They will come out in our faces, as always, right from the start. We will go at them and if we can get a couple of early goals, they’ll hopefully crumble.”

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