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  Livingston vs Airdrieonians 23rd March 2017  
 
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Andy Ryan hopes to be fit to face league leaders Livingston on Saturday as Airdrie battle to get back into a play-off position.

Top scorer Ryan missed last weekend's win over Stenhousemuir with a groin injury, but the striker is progressing well as he aims to get back in the squad ahead of the trip to West Lothian.

He explained that his omission from the side was a precautionary measure.

"I felt a tweak in my groin in training on Friday, and I spoke to the gaffer and we agreed that it wasn't worth taking the risk of making it worse.

"Hopefully I should be fine for this Saturday."

With Ryan watching from the bench, Airdrie got back to winning ways against bottom side Stenhousemuir, Iain Russell's second half strike securing a 1-0 victory.

While a single goal was enough to take the three points, the Diamonds had several other chances to score and Ryan admits to wishing he was on the park to add some firepower.

"It was a good performance. It's frustrating watching it from the side, you just want to play.

"I thought the boys were good, the only thing that was lacking was a couple more goals to add to the scoreline.

"The clean sheet was important, because we haven't had many of them this season."

With Ryan sidelined, head coach Mark Wilson adjusted the formation against Stenhousemuir - a change which made the side look more secure at the back and more threatening moving forward.

With the new shape getting results against the side at the foot of the table, Ryan thinks it could work against the side at the top.

"I would say we should go the same way against Livingston - if it works and we get a clean sheet, I don't see any reason why we should change it!

With other results going Airdrie's way both last weekend and midweek, the Diamonds are looking to capitalise and get back into play-off contention.

That's all that matters, according to Andy.

"The biggest problem for us this season has been consistency. I don't think we've been anywhere near as consistent as we need to be, winning one week then throwing it away the next.

"After a good win on Saturday we need to kick on - we have seven big games left, seven cup finals. We need to go into them believing we can win.

"With the quality we've got at the club, I believe we deserve to be in the play-offs."

Mark Wilson knows how difficult the immediate task will be, but the Diamonds head coach believes that previous meetings with Livingston have been closer than the scorelines might suggest.

"They're a good team. I watched them the other night against Stenhousemuir, and they created a lot of chances and should have won the game more comfortably.

"But I feel that when we've played them, there's not been a lot in the games. People might think that's a stupid thing to say when we were beaten 4-0 at home, but there wasn't a lot in it until they scored their wonder goal.

"It's just about having that bit of quality in the final third, and having the belief that we can go there and win.

"The recent wins we've had have lifted the confidence and the change of shape has definitely helped us."

Jack Leitch is sidelined through suspension after an accumulation of yellow cards, and Ryan will be given until the last minute before a decision is made on his inclusion.

Crawford Allan referees the tie.

 


 
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