COLIN Mitchell, the Clydesdale manager, believes his side can give leaders Ferguslie a run for their money in today’s top Western Premier clash.

It is second versus first in the Titwood sunshine and Mitchell is convinced a resurgent Dale will be much more competitive than they were during a heavy 105-run defeat to the Paisley team on the opening day of the season.

They have recovered from that reverse and have shrugged-off the absence through illness of player-coach Con de Lange to emerge as genuine title contenders.

Mitchell said: “The boys deserve enormous credit. Given the continued long-term absence of Con and his undoubted influence on the club the boys have dug deep and found a way to win.

“We’re delighted to find ourselves where we are in the league and we have probably surpassed early expectations. But now we have to re-set these expectations.

“Ferguslie are the outstanding team in the league – they have assembled a powerful team and are playing some good cricket.

“They were worthy winners on the opening day of the season but we felt we were much closer to them in the cup a few weeks later and we have nothing to fear.”

Clydesdale are without Scotland U17 batsman Angus Guy but Ferguslie are at full strength and their skipper Jamey Carruthers knows victory would open a significant gap at the top,

He said: “It’s a huge game for us after a good win last week. As always, it will be tough against Clydesdale but we are looking forward to it.”

Ferguslie will tomorrow turn their attention to the Scottish Cup and a home quarter-final against Carlton.
The only other Western Premier side still in the knockout competition are Uddingston who visit Ayr today before travelling to Arbroath where they won the tournament against Dunfermline in 2011.

Elsewhere, Poloc go into this afternoon’s home clash with West of Scotland in high spirits following a record-breaking batting display against Greenock.

However, they will take nothing for granted against the Hamilton Crescent outfit who were unlucky to lose the corresponding match in a last-over thriller on the opening day and have since got the better of today’s hosts in the Rowan Cup.

Poloc are without Hasseb Zaker and Calum James but Amaan Ali returns while James Fennah and Simon Naitram miss out for West.

Champions Prestwick are not only bidding to bounce back from last week’s heavy defeat to Ferguslie, they also want to avenge their opening day loss to Stirling when they visit New Williamfield while bottom-of-the-table Dumfries hope to break their duck when they entertain second bottom Greenock.