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Ross County V Motherwell at Victoria Park : Match Preview

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13 Dec 2013 15:31:00

Ross County V Motherwell - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Brittain wary of 'exciting' Well

Ross County skipper Richard Brittain is not reading too much into Motherwell's "false" result against Celtic last week as he prepares to face the Steelmen in Dingwall on Saturday.


The Fir Park side were thrashed 5-0 at home by the champions last Friday night.


However, Brittain, back after suspension, remains full of respect for Stuart McCall's side, who sit in sixth place.


"They got off to a very good start to the season and they are sitting at the top end of the table for all the right reasons," he said.


"They are an exciting side and they don't give many goals away. The 5-0 game against Celtic is maybe a bit false.


"With Shaun Hutchinson and Stephen McManus at the back, they won't give many goals away.


"Hopefully we can take parts of last Saturday into this Saturday and if we have a bit more of a cutting edge and create chances for our strikers, hopefully we won't be far away."


Brittain was referring to the Staggies' own struggles which continued last week against Kilmarnock.


County dropped into the relegation play-off place after losing 2-1 at home to the Rugby Park outfit and have gone six games without victory.


"Although I wasn't involved and was looking on from the sidelines, I thought we were really good in spells and passed the ball as well as we have done all season," Brittain said.


"I know how we can play, so it was no surprise to me. I see it every day in training and I know we are capable of taking it into a game.


"Two individual errors cost us which was disappointing and we are working hard to cut out the personal mistakes we are making.


"But I think there are a lot of positives we can take from the game.


"We just need to be braver and if we keep doing that and keep doing the basics right, we won't be far away from getting points on the board.


"You can say that the club is going through a transitional period. But it is up to the players here and now to take the club forward.


"That is the pressure we put on ourselves and I know the characters we have in the dressing room are capable of meeting that challenge head on and I, for one, will not shy away from a challenge.


"I am looking forward to the game on Saturday and I know everyone else is the same."


Derek Adams has three injury doubts.


Steven Saunders (hamstring) missed last weekend's defeat by Kilmarnock and fellow full-back Branislav Micic went off with a similar injury.


Striker Orhan Mustafi is a doubt with an ankle injury but midfielder Richard Brittain returns from suspension.


Motherwell manager Stuart McCall looks set to have to choose between two novices in goal.


Gunnar Nielsen, who has been deputising for injured number one Lee Hollis, is a major doubt after suffering a thigh injury during last Friday's 5-0 defeat by Celtic.


McCall's other options are 18-year-old Ross Stewart, whose first-team experience amounts to the final moments of the last home game of last season when Darren Randolph was substituted to get a farewell ovation, and Dan Twardzik, who joined on an emergency loan from Dundee on Thursday.


The 22-year-old trained with his new team-mates for the first time on Friday afternoon and could make his first appearance in Scottish football since joining Aberdeen from Italian side Como in January.


McCall said of Nielsen: "He improved earlier on in the week and then, like any muscle injury, it plateaus out.


"We are going to have a look at him but he still remains a serious doubt.


"Having said that, to balance it up, it's his kicking muscle, so whether we take the gamble of having defenders take goal kicks.


"It's not ideal but I have played in games where that happens before.


"We have brought Dan in and have young Ross so we will look at all of them in training before we head to Dingwall and make a decision on whether it's worth the risk with Gunnar or if we go with one of the other two young boys.


"Young Ross has been coming on well, Marsh (goalkeeping coach Gordon Marshall) has high hopes for him."


Motherwell are looking to bounce back from one of the most painful weeks in their recent history, which saw them knocked out of the William Hill Scottish Cup by Albion Rovers before being thrashed by Celtic at Fir Park.


McCall said: "Once things happen, you don't forget about it, but you have to focus on the next game.


"It's about how quickly you can bounce back and go and get a result. No matter how you get it, you fight and scrap your way to a result.


"The points tally we have got is very good, we have more than 50 per cent wins. We've had ups and downs, we have lost a lot of goals, but then won some games we needed to win.


"We want to win and put smiles on people's faces.


"We have an honest bunch here and, just like the fans, the players and staff are hurting.


"But it's not a stage to wallow, it's a time to get out there and be as strong as you can mentally and physically. And I've no doubts our players will do that."


Defender Simon Ramsden is determined to atone for recent displays at Dingwall.


Ramsden said: "Celtic were on another level, everyone could see that, but on a whole recently the standards that we set ourselves, we feel we have definitely slipped below them.


"We had a long chat after the Celtic match and collectively we feel we owe a few people a performance - the manager, the club, the fans.


"We need to really stamp our authority on the game and try and get three points up there."



PA

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