GREENOCK Wanderers make the short trip up the M8 for the second successive week tomorrow when they head for New Anniesland to face old rivals Glasgow Academicals.

Glasgow Accies have not had the best start to their campaign, having won only one of their opening four matches. But there is little doubt that they are a force to be reckoned with and will be there or thereabouts come April time.

In fairness they started the season with a difficult sequence of fixtures and lost narrowly at home on opening day to many people's favourites for promotion, Lasswade.

Two defeats on the road at far flung Newton Stewart and Caithness came on either side of their only victory against bottom club Cambuslang a fortnight ago. There is little doubt that the hosts will be desperate to get their season up and running by beating pace setters Wanderers in one of the oldest fixtures on the Scottish club rugby calendar.

The teams first met in 1875 and have been the best of enemies ever since.

The Greenock club, as has been well documented, have had their best start in many years and enjoyed a nine-try romp last Saturday at Coats Park against Cambuslang. The sound bites coming out of Fort Matilda though are cautious and nobody is getting carried away with the early season success.

President Dougie Sloan said: "I accept that it has been a good start to the season and there is definitely a buzz about Fort Matilda.

"Every weekend throws up a different set of challenges and we believe that tomorrow's tie at Accies will be one of the most difficult of the season. We are looking forward to it and we want to go and give a good account of ourselves." Continuity of selection will be slightly affected tomorrow with Ali Abernethy, Alan McMichael and Dougie Smith all unavailable due to work commitments.

Matt Duncan, Robert Lavelle and Jim McArthur all return to the squad and a late selection will determine the starting line-up.

Back at the coal face, though, will be Jim McArthur who has returned from his tour of California with Cowal RFC. McArthur has had a fantastic start to his Wanderers career and will be hoping to make his usual significant contribution as the locals attempt to record their fifth win in succession.

Partnering McArthur in the front row will be Robert and Martin Lavelle who play together for the first time in a league match. They will relish the opportunity and, in true sibling spirit, will drive each other on throughout the 80 minutes.

So far this season the front five have deservedly taken most of the plaudits but the unsung heroes in the back row - Chris Clark, Callum Robb and Andy Love - get through a power of work and they will once more look to impose themselves all over the park, but particularly at the breakdown. This trio are fast developing the art of pirating ball at the contact zone and many a turnover has been secured already this season which turns defence into attack.

The men from New Anniesland will provide a stiff test and have a sizeable pack of forwards and a swift and skilful set of backs. Wanderers' lineout and scrum will have to perform at its best and if the pack can take a stranglehold on the match as they have done in every other game this season then full back and Captain David Watson and his back line should have plenty of ammunition to probe and test the hosts defence.

Former skipper David Murray is enjoying a run of first team action and had another fine game last weekend at Cambuslang. His centre partnership with youngster Leigh Tyley is gelling well and they both look a potent threat whenever half-backs Andy McDougall and Ant Devlin send the ball wide.

Coach Bob Adams said: "It's another big game and if we want to succeed then every league game becomes bigger than the last. Accies will be like a wounded animal as they have not enjoyed a great start this season and will fancy their chances to take the points tomorrow.

"We will have to match their aggression and determination but, most of all, focus on our own game and impose our will on the contest." A good sized travelling support will doubtless head to the city and cheer on the locals as they look to further consolidate their status as front runners in the Second Division.

Greenock Wanderers squad v Glasgow Accies at New Anniesland, kick-off 3pm: D Watson (captain), J Smith, L Tyley, D Murray, S Connolly, A Devlin, A McDougall, J McArthur, R Lavelle, M Lavelle, M Gray, F Chamberlain, M Duncan, C Clark, C Robb, A Love, A Shearer, J Stewart, K Murray.

● Wanderers are sponsored by National Semiconductor [UK] Ltd.

● All at Greenock Wanderers wish young hooker Stewart Alexander best wishes and a speedy recovery after his leg break playing for the 2nd XV last weekend at Garnock.

Stewart is the son of junior vice-president Graeme Alexander and is a promising player with a big future at the club.