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Match Preview - Ayr United vs Morton (15th January)


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Ayr United vs Morton – Match Preview

by Russell Gordon.

What a difference a new manager and a couple of decent results makes. Two teams that have stunk out the Championship for the last couple of seasons are suddenly both going into Saturday's match at an eerie Somerset Park with a degree of optimism as the bounce at both clubs starts to take effect- a welcome change in Morton's case, certainly.

With Government restrictions still keeping the crowd at a maximum of 500, there are no tickets available for travelling fans, but streams on Ayr United's Black and White TV, priced at £15, can be purchased here.

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Photo - GBR Photographs.

Squad News

A relatively clean bill of health has been quite a common theme in recent weeks for Morton, with only Oisin McEntee missing out through injury, a blow that has been softened by Brian McLean's latest renaissance, as defensively, Morton put in their most assured performance of the season against an admittedly impotent Dunfermline side. The defence will also be bolstered by the loan signing of Hearts right wing back Jamie Brandon, who is expected to take the place of Darren Hynes, in spite of Hynes' comfortable performance against the below-par Fifers at Cappielow. One wouldn't expect to see the lesser-spotted Tom Allan, as McEntee's Newcastle compatriot appears to have disappeared out of the picture completely.

Current Connections

Where do we start? With two previous Morton managers in David Hopkin and Jim Duffy occupying the home dugout at Somerset Park at different points this season, there is no shortage of Cappielow connections down Ayrshire way. Hopkin took four of last season's squad to Ayr with him over the summer in keeper Aidan McAdams, defenders Markus Fjortoft and Sean McGinty and forward Cammy Salkeld. Perhaps only the loss of McAdams was mourned by the Morton support, but Jack Hamilton's excellent form has more than compensated for that loss. Former St. Mirren loanee Jack Baird and fans' favourite Andy Murdoch are also in the Honest Mens' ranks. The only former Ayr player in the Morton squad is Alan Lithgow, who spent 2013-14 at Somerset Park.

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Photo - GBR Photographs.

Tale of the Tape

The two previous encounters have seen the spoils shared on each occasion, with the teams playing out a turgid 0-0 draw on our previous trip down the coast, before a relatively entertaining 2-2 draw at Cappielow last month which turned out to be the straw that broke the camel's back for the board, who took decisive action in sacking Gus McPherson immediately after the final whistle. Goals from Hibs loanee Steven Bradley and Toni Adeloye were sandwiched by two Gozie Ugwu headers as the two strugglers were forced to settle for a point a piece.

Opposition Analysis

Two home wins against title chasing Raith and Arbroath without conceding bodes well for Ayr, who now sit four points clear of the 'Ton- setting up what looks very much like a six pointer if Morton are hoping to look up the table, rather than over their shoulders. New boss Lee Bullen's already added to his squad, raiding Wealdstone for winger Ryan Gondoh and he will be looking to make further additions as the month goes on.

I spoke to Ayr fan Marc Dunlop (@Marco_Ayr), who was understandably bullish about his team's prospects ahead of Saturday's game; "Ayr United go into Saturday’s fixture high on confidence, after coming away from the last two with maximum points. Last week’s impressive win against league leaders Arbroath was a dream start for new boss Lee Bullen. The Scotsman comes north of the border to take his first Head Coach role, after a few years cutting his teeth in the Sheffield Wednesday youth set up. The Honest Men will now look to build on their recent good form and take all three points. With the January transfer window very much open, Bullen has wasted little time in strengthening his squad. Unknown quantity Ryan Gondoh joined from Wealdstone, in the English Non League system. The 24 year old will be looking to hit the ground running and emulate the success of  team mate and current top scorer Adeloye. The attacking midfielder has English League experience at Colchester and Barnet, and United supporters seem intrigued to see what he can add to the squad."

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Photo - GBR Photographs.

Betting Guide

All odds are supplied by McBookie. All odds correct as of 10am on 14th January 2022 and are subject to change. Please only bet within your means and visit BeGambleAware if you are struggling.

Morton are again the underdogs heading into the match, with the hosts priced at 6/5 and Morton at 2/1. A repeat of the two draws from earlier in the season is a tempting 11/5.

After his phenomenal performance against Dunfermline, Gavin Reilly is priced at 8/1 for first goalscorer and Morton to repeat last week's feat of scoring in both halves is 15/4.

Match Officials

Referee- John Beaton

AR 1- Craig Ferguson

AR 2- Craig Macrae

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