Peterhead boss Jim McInally is hoping for one final salvo from his patched-up squad to overturn their 2-0 deficit against Stenhousemuir.
The League 1 play-off final swung decisively in the favour of the Warriors on Wednesday night and the Blue Toon’s evening was compounded with the loss of Jason Brown and Rory McAllister to injuries.
Neither will be risked today and the same goes for defender Mason Robertson, who has ankle ligament damage and McInally is reluctant to push the 23-year-old with his future uncertain.
Skipper David McCracken has been nursing a calf problem and is doubtful for the second leg at Balmoor, meaning striker Russell McLean will play at centre-back. Speaking after the game on Wednesday, McCracken appeared willing to play through the pain but McInally will leave it until last-minute before deciding who starts.
They know the size of the task ahead of them and even if they come up short, the Blue Toon manager feels they can hold their heads high.
He said: “A lot of players are re-signed for next season, so it’s still going to be a good team (if we don’t go up). Stats can tell you a lot of things but these boys have won eight out of the last nine games and got 76 points. If you say that at the start of the next season then I think we’d win the league comfortably. These boys have done great and if they come up short, that’s just the way it is.
“We were so professional in our chase of Montrose and never gave up the ghost. For Stirling and Stenny, although Clyde gave them a bit of a push, they always kind of knew they were going to be there and were able to play for the play-offs.
“Mason has ankle ligament damage and I have to take into account he’s not signed a new contract, though he’s been offered one. If he damages them further and is out the whole summer, what does he do? I won’t coerce someone into doing something. I’ll wait until today for the situation but I’ve got nine or 10 of the team in my mind. Jason Brown I would say certainly has no chance, the same for Mason and Rory. I don’t know what David McCracken’s body will be telling him.”
Heading into the final weekend of the season, the Blue Toon remain the second-highest league scorers with 79 to their name. McInally’s side know no other way than to attack.
McInally added: “Nothing changes for us. We just need to try get the first goal – if we get that, then we’ll get a second. It doesn’t even need to be early. The second half will be players that are really tired. With tired players, anything can happen.”