GREENOCK have been given a home league match tomorrow for the third week in a row, in a move which has surprised club officials.

After Saturday’s game against Cumbernauld, the Ravenscraig side will have seven league fixtures remaining.

But five of them will now be away from home, which, apart from leading to a testing end at what could be a crucial time of the season, could also see one or two lengthy journeys for midweek games, which some players find to be less than ideal preparation.

There’s also surprise that tomorrow isn’t given over to the outstanding West of Scotland Cup tie against Renfrew, especially as league bosses have scheduled seven other ties in that tournament for Saturday.

But manager Martin Campbell says the club needs to focus on the matches in front of them, and tomorrow’s game represents a real test.

Cumbernauld still have a chance of featuring in the contest for promotion, and they were very convincing winners when the sides last met in the reverse fixture in November.

The 2-0 scoreline did not adequately reflect the superiority of Cumbernauld that day, when Campbell admits his men were well turned over.

He said: “In that first half in particular, Cumbernauld were the best team we have played this season, and even their own players were saying they had never played better.

“So I am surprised that they haven’t gone on to be near the top of the table, although they are still in with a shout of being in the promotion mix.’’ The frustration of seeing Cumbernauld dominate the previous match saw Alan Williams sent off and coach John Paul Dow also ordered from the dug-out.

Williams has since left the club, and Dow’s appearances on the sidelines have been limited of late, with work commitments in Norway and Edinburgh reducing his availability. Employment issues also look likely to rule Martin Dow out for the rest of the season, and it seems midfielder Mark Downie is also unlikely to feature in the remaining games.

Downie has been missing from the team-lines for the past couple of months, although Campbell says he is still a signed player with the club.

In team news for tomorrow, left-back Sean Doherty is a serious doubt, after hobbling off injured during last week’s home defeat to Kilsyth Rangers. Although the swelling on his ligaments has eased, Doherty hasn’t been able to train this week. And Thomas Docherty is struggling to overcome a knee injury in time for tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the manager has been outlining his thoughts on why recent signing Barry McLaughlin did not make the starting 11 last week.

Eyebrows were raised amid the ‘Nock fans when McLaughlin’s appearance was limited to that of a second half substitute, but Campbell insists it was merely a tactical move.

He said: ‘’Ryan Craig was a natural replacement for the suspended Barri Stanton last week, and the guys at the back had been doing quite well, so it would have been unfair to drop any of them to accommodate Barry. But there is no doubt that Barry will have a pivotal role to play in the games as we near the end of the season. He continues to impress at training, and having explained the situation to him, his attitude has been very good.’’ With the heavy rainfall in Inverclyde for much of this week, the surface at Ravenscraig is described as ‘soft’, so it will be a case of fingers crossed that tomorrow’s match can go ahead.

Kick-off at Ravenscraig is at 2pm.

Greenock Juniors are sponsored by SAVEHEAT, and the Lighthouse Bar, who are also sponsors of tomorrow’s match.