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Annan raring to go after enforced winter break

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Chris Charles | 20:22 UK time, Wednesday, 20 January 2010

At long last we have managed to get a game in - and a proper one at that!

Each and every one of the players involved in the rearranged reserve game at Ochilview this week were thankful of the run-out prior to our hugely important game at Hampden Park on Saturday.

A lot of the players were likening it to the first game of pre-season - without the warm conditions of course.

I can certainly vouch for at least two dodgy hamstrings and I'm certain that both our physios will be busy men at our next training session.

It has been more than five weeks since most of us had our last run out so I'm sure we can be forgiven a few aches and pains.

In all honesty I was quite surprised at how well we did, especially in the second half. We were all saying to each other before the game there were no excuses for not performing and how we weren't just here to blow the cobwebs away.

You can train as much as you like but it still doesn't give you the same fitness and sharpness that playing competitive matches do.

hampdenstadium595.jpgThat said we passed the ball about well and looked fairly comfortable in the no-scoring draw and all-in-all I think the manager and Derek Townsley were pleased with the work-out.

We had the majority of the first-team squad playing at Stenhousemuir with the exception of a few players - some whose excuses will be forgiven and will possibly make them exempt from my fine book but one player in particular has a lot to answer for.

Our captain, Kevin Neilson was taking a lot of stick in the dressing room before the game I'll tell you.

Craig Sommersgill and Graeme Bell were both working and Jack Steele has come down with laryngitis but big Nelly? Captain courageous was taking his girlfriend, Kate out for a birthday meal so made himself unavailable for the reserve outing.

He's obviously confident of a place in the starting line-up against Queen's Park. Sorry Big Man but I couldn't possibly let this go without a mention and to be honest I'm letting you off lightly as most of the comments from the lads are unprintable!

While we have found ourselves idle for the last five Saturdays, Queen's Park have managed to squeeze in a couple of good wins at home.

They have crept above us in the table, although a win on Saturday would see us a point above our opponents with those two games in hand.

On the other hand a home victory and Queens will have created a wee gap of five points. All if's and buts I know but a huge game all the same.

I must admit to having had my eye on this fixture for a right good few months now - probably since we lost to Dundee in the semi-finals of the Alba Challenge Cup.

That game was a bit of a turning point for me in the team and I have been fortunate enough to start every game since coming on at half-time in our 3-0 defeat at Dens Park.

With all the things that's happened to me in my time at the club I would never take anything for granted but let's just say that I'm a lot more confident of playing my part at the National Stadium this time round.

As far as I'm concerned this is the perfect match for us to return after the enforced break.

We might be a bit away from being as match sharp as we'd like but what better than a game at Hampden Park to find that little bit extra to get through the 90 minutes.

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