Shane Sutherland injury won't put Elgin City promotion bid off track says manager Gavin Price
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SHANE Sutherland could be out for a month, but Elgin City manager Gavin Price does not want to focus on his star striker’s injury blow.
Sutherland, who will join Caley Thistle next season, tore his hamstring in Saturday’s impressive 3-0 Elgin win over League 2 leaders Cove.
He misses tomorrow’s equally crucial league trip to Hampden to face fellow play-off hopefuls Queen’s Park, and won’t be back until March at the earliest.
His absence will spark memories of the last time Sutherland was on hot scoring form and leading a City promotion chase when he damaged his cruciate ligament three years ago.
Elgin failed to win any of their remaining games that campaign as their play-off hopes slid away, but Price insists the situation is very different this year.
“I don’t want to dwell on Shane’s injury but just to concentrate on what we are doing as a team. If we focus on that I’m sure we will be OK,” he said.
“Yes it’s a blow to lose Shane but we’ve got a good balance in the squad now that we can cover positions. We have other players in forward areas who are playing well just now.
“Shane is a great player who you would obviously want in the team but I’m still happy with what we’ve got at our disposal.”
Recent signing Smart Osadolor could earn a first City start tomorrow, while defender Euan Spark will be back in the squad. Though Hampden may be too soon for Spark to make a start, his eventual return will see him take over the club captaincy from Sutherland and release his left back replacement, Formartine United loan signing Archie Macphee to play in a more attacking role.
Price was still on a high from last week’s success over Cove, which he described as a complete team performance.
“Cove are a fantastic footballing team so the conditions maybe hampered both our styles today and the wind was a big factor,” said Price.
“But we scored at great times at the start of both halves and I think over the piece we created the better chances in the game.”
The Elgin manager is aware that tomorrow’s hosts Queen’s Park strengthened in the transfer window under new boss Ray McKinnon and are breathing down Elgin’s necks.
“They are on a great run just now and brought in a lot of players with higher league quality. But the pitch down there suits us, we’ve got decent away form at the moment so we will go down there with some self-belief.”
City are also two short of 1000 goals in 20 years of Scottish League football and would love to hit the milestone this weekend.