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Hectic cup schedule worries Queens boss

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By Euan Maxwell
Dumfries and West
Hectic cup schedule worries Queens boss

QUEEN of the South manager Allan Johnston has questioned the need for the Doonhamers’ hectic Betfred Cup group schedule.

The Palmerston boss saw his side earn two points at Morton on Tuesday night. Captain Stephen Dobbie and new signing Connor Shields scored in their 2-2 draw at Cappielow. Queens held their nerve in the penalty shootout to collect the bonus point.

Johnston believes the result and the shootout success will give his squad an early season boost.

He said: “I’m not happy with the first 30 minutes to be honest with you, we were like two different teams. I thought the first half we were poor and Morton were the better team, while in the second half we were the better team, so probably a draw summed up the game.

“Both teams had chances but it’s always good to win on penalties, it gives you a boost.”

Now the focus is on a Palmerston doubleheader against Premiership side St Mirren on Saturday and Ian McCall’s Partick Thistle on Tuesday.

The worry for Johnston and Queens fans will be making sure they don’t pick up any niggling injuries ahead of their Championship curtain raiser away to Ayr United later this month.

Midfielder Dan Pybus had to hobble off with an injury in the first half against Morton and the manager has warned playing matches in quick succession could see their injury list grow.

He said: “Four games in a short space of time is asking for knocks when players haven’t played for six or seven months, so I don’t really know why we have to play so many games so close together. It can only be an advantage to the Premier League teams who have played so many games already.

“We are playing catch up but we showed good fitness levels against Morton so we’ve just got to do our best. We know it’s going to be tough having two games in such a short period of time, especially against Premier League opposition.”

The Palmy gaffer added two more players to his squad on Monday ahead of their Betfred Cup group campaign.

Former Queen’s Park midfielder Calvin McGrory joined on a one-year deal. Shortly afterwards the club unveiled Nortei Nortey on a season long deal. Nortey can play either right back or in midfield.

However, Johnston believes his side still need two or three new faces for the upcoming campaign.

He added: “We are still short, we still need to bring in a couple. We are really light, especially defensively, but I’m really happy with the players that we have brought in. It will take them a wee bit of time to get to know each other and to get to play with each other so hopefully we can improve but there is a lot of positives to take from it.”

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