BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
FRASER FYVIE reckons there are similarities between Grant Holt and Stephen Dobbie as the stalwart strikers prepare to cross swords at Palmerston Park.
Dobbie has taken the Championship by storm in his second spell at Queen of the South, scoring nine goals in as many matches to fire the Dumfries side to the summit of the second tier.
Formerly on the books at Hibs, he has already got the better of his old employers by climbing from the bench to inspire a 3-1 win for Queens at Easter Road in the Betfred Cup.
Norwich City legend Holt, 35, has failed to hit the same heights in front of goal, finding the net just once following his arrival. Nevertheless, his technical quality, ability to hold the ball up and positive influence on young Jason Cummings has drawn praise.
And Fyvie sees plenty of shared qualities between the duo, who have brought a wealth of experience from English football with the likes of Bolton, Wigan and Aston Villa to their respective clubs.
“When you get Stephen Dobbie running at you, and the other players around him, Queens have a really good dynamic,” said the former Aberdeen midfielder.
“It was great for a team in this division to get a player of Dobbie’s quality and I think every team they’ve played this season has seen the quality they have – including us, when they beat us in the [Betfred] Cup.
“There are similarities with what Dobbie has brought to Queens and what Grant Holt has brought to us.
“They’re both experienced lads who have played at the highest level, so they both bring a lot to qualities to their teams, that ability and know-how.
“Queens are in good form in the league, sitting at the top of the table so it should be an excellent game. They’re a good side, especially on the counter-attack. I think this weekend’s game will be a good test for both teams and hopefully an enjoyable one.”
Both clubs take to the artificial turf in Dumfries seeking to bounce back from rare disappointments this term.
Hibs endured a shock 2-1 defeat against Ayr United, with a Marvin Bartley red card – since downgraded to a caution, allowing him to play today – prompting them to throw away a one-goal lead with 20 minutes to play.
Queens, meanwhile, were battered 5-0 by Rangers in the quarter-final of the Betfred Cup on Tuesday evening, bringing a their nine-game unbeaten run in all competitions to a shuddering halt.
“Obviously Ayr was a disappointing result,” Fyvie continued. “And we’ve had our discussions about what went wrong and what we could have done better.
“But after that you lift the mood in the camp and you get on with it. We’ve moved on from Ayr and we’re looking forward to Queens. That’s all you can do.
“At the some time, I don’t think Tuesday will effect them. That was a cup game and they can be different to the league. Rangers romped this league last year and going there can be tough so I wouldn’t read much into Tuesday.”
That defeat against the Honest Men was just Fyvie’s fourth start of the campaign, having battled back from a persistent knee injury which also hampered him last term.
He readily admits that watching Neil Lennon’s new-look side hit the ground running from the sidelines was an unpleasant experience – but now he is fully focused on spearheading a return to the top-flight.
“The injury’s all done, all fine now,” he added. “It’s great being back and getting a wee run in the team. I’m a really bad spectator. I’m moany when I’m on the pitch – but I’m a lot worse when I’m in the physio room!
“It’s enjoyable to be back in the team. You always want to be on the pitch, doing your bit and helping the boys. It’s tough being out, especially when there’s a new manager coming in, but I’ve had four games now so I feel like I’ve put it all behind me now.”