GREENOCK Wanderers play their penultimate game of the season tomorrow when they travel to Cala Park to take on Falkirk in what is in reality a meaningless end of season fixture in the BT National League Second Division.

The hosts were, up until last Saturday, still very much in the promotion race but Howe of Fife’s excellent 71-19 victory over Cartha Queens Park effectively ended that challenge and now means that Falkirk are confined to the second division for next season.

This fixture is Falkirk’s last home game of the campaign and, although they have just came up short in their promotion ambitions, it has been an excellent season for them.

Fourteen wins and one draw have been recorded in their 20 games so far and with only Wanderers and Livingston left to play the likelihood is that they will add to their wins column over the next fortnight.

What is without doubt is that the hosts will want to complete their home fixture list in front of a large and vocal support with a stirring performance and impressive victory against a team from the lower end of the division.

In the earlier contest this season Falkirk won at a canter at Fort Matilda when they impressed with a fine display of powerful forward play, crisp ball handling and clinical finishing which had an impressive set piece performance at its core.

The 38-point margin of victory was scant reward for what was one of the outstanding displays of rugby seen at Fort Matilda this season, with the locals rarely managing to venture outside their own half throughout the 80 minutes.

The main feature of the game from a Greenock perspective was an outstanding defensive effort, particularly in the opening quarter, when they thwarted several chances the visitors had to open up a sizeable early lead and thereby run away with the match.

For tomorrow’s contest the locals will once more have to show a real appetite for the defensive chores as they are likely to be up against it and on the back foot from the start.

Pride must be the spur for Greenock as this is one of those matches that could go seriously wrong if they do not pitch up from the get go and try and impose their own will and game plan on proceedings.

As always Wanderers’ chances of success should depend on the availability of key players but in truth some of Greenock’s better displays this season occurred when they were significantly under strength and had to deliver a gutsy backs-to-the-wall performance. The away defeat against Hamilton was one such occasion when they competed throughout before succumbing 29-9 and also their most recent outing at home to a resurgent Aberdeenshire side could have ended up in a heavy defeat but a doughty performance restricted the eventual scoreline to a respectable 30-3 defeat.

Key personnel this season have been the experienced players up front and they have laid the foundation for the club, managing to avoid relegation, and they deserve to hold onto their second division status for next term.

Skipper Murray McDonald, Matt Gray and Ally Abernethy have toiled bravely throughout the campaign and their example has been the benchmark in terms of effort, loyalty and commitment that the younger players have aspired to.

In the back division Andy McDougall and Kenny Diffenthal have also used their considerable experience when the going has got tough and with the talented Martin Lavelle now looking as if he will settle at centre three-quarter Wanderers have a core group of players around which they can kick-start their own renaissance next season.

Youngster Fraser Reid has also been a revelation this term since he returned to the club.

The hard running, strong tackling centre is a serious prospect and has never failed to deliver impressive performances when selected. Bulk and power is in short supply in Wanderers’ backline and Reid has the physique, speed and rugby street smarts to make a considerable contribution.

All look likely to start tomorrow in what is an important game for the locals in so much as they will compete in the same league as Falkirk again next season and will want to show them that they are a capable side and one that should be given respect.

President John McDougall said: “Every game in this league is extremely tough, particularly against any of the top four sides.

“Falkirk have just missed out on promotion and with tomorrow being their last home game we are well aware that they will come out all guns blazing. We have assessed our options this week and have had two good squad sessions, with the focus being on taking the sting out of Falkirk’s play during the early exchanges.

“We need to get in their faces at the start and not allow them to settle into their stride.” Wanderers complete their league programme in a fortnight’s time when they host Ardrossan Academicals in the west coast derby at Fort Matilda.

l Wanderers are sponsored by Texas Instruments.