Fifers biding their Tyne on loan stars

EAST FIFE V PETERHEAD;'on loan keeper MARK RIDGERS'Photo : Walter Neilson
EAST FIFE V PETERHEAD;'on loan keeper MARK RIDGERS'Photo : Walter Neilson

ONGOING off-field troubles at Heart of Midlothian mean East Fife are still playing a waiting game to find out if they can hold on to their loanees until the season ends.

East Fife boss John Robertson told the Mail on Monday that discussions have taken place between the Methil side and the SPL men, with a view to keeping Rob Ogleby and Mark Ridgers at Bayview.

Matthew Park, according to the manager, is certain to return to Tynecastle, with the cruciate injury he picked up in the loss to Stenhousemuir looking likely to keep him out for the rest of the season.

One national newspaper speculated on Monday that, owing to Hearts’ players not receiving their wages on time from the club, it was expected that several top team stars would leave in January, forcing the likes of Ogleby and Ridgers to be fast-tracked into the starting XI.

However, boss Robertson said: “Matthew Park has to go back anyway because he’s an over-21 loan, but I think his injury will see him out until the end of the season, which is very disappointing.

“We’ve spoken to Hearts about Rob Ogleby and Mark Ridgers and we’re waiting on them to make a decision on that.

“But I don’t think Hearts know what’s going to happen come January themselves yet, so we’ll have to wait and see.

“The discussions we’ve had with them were pretty positive.

“I wouldn’t say I was 100 per cent, but I’m pretty sure that Rob at least will stay.”

Saturday’s fixture at Forfar was called off on Saturday morning, with weather conditions having turned pretty severe overnight on Friday.

The manager told the Mail that the safety of his players remained paramount, so didn’t ask them to report for training anywhere and allowed them the day off.

“We cancelled training on Thursday as well, because the most important thing is the safety of the players,” said the manager.

“It’s just one of those things, and I expect a lot more games will be called off over the next few weeks.

“But we’ll get the boys together on Tuesday and Thursday and prepare for a big double header of home games.”

The first of those double headers comes with the arrival of on-form Albion Rovers to Bayview on Saturday and the boss is expecting a tough tie.

“When we beat them at Cliftonhill we had to work very hard for it and I was impressed with the way they went about their business,” said the manager.

“They’ve had some great results, like beating Airdrie 7-2 and Brechin 4-1.

“They’re not just wins, they’re really good wins.”

The manager will once more be without the services of forward Scott Dalziel for the game.

Dalziel is working with a specialist on his way back from an injury to his pelvis that the manager reckoned at one point bordered on career threatening.