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Longridge can make striking difference for Hamilton

ALEX NEIL believes Louis Longridge, the forward he picked up from amateur side Harmony Row two years ago, is a potential match-winner in today's Championship top-of-the-table match against Dundee at New Douglas Park.

Former amateur Louis Longridge has been rewarded for his efforts with a new  two-year contract.
Former amateur Louis Longridge has been rewarded for his efforts with a new two-year contract.

A home win would open a three- point gap on Paul Hartley's men.

"Can Louis Longridge be a match- winner for us today? The answer to that one is yes, totally," said the Hamilton manager. "He is two-footed, totally committed and knows the way to goal and he is a very hard player to pin down because he has a tremendous appetite for work.

"His progress here at Accies has been excellent and he has been rewarded with a new two-year contract and I know how hungry he is to make the Premiership with Hamilton Academical."

Hamilton are winless and goalless in the three meetings between the clubs this season. An opening 0-0 draw on Tayside was followed by a 3-0 home defeat and a 1-0 loss back up at Dens Park. But the pragmatic Neil has no doubt about how he expects today's tussle to pan out.

"Dundee are very solid defensively and I expect them to sit in and look to hit us on the counter. The key for us will be to make sure we look after the ball and make the most of our possession. I don't expect any of the past three games between us this season to have any bearing on today's game.

"We have scored 11 goals in our last four games and we are playing with real belief and that must be reflected in this afternoon's match. But regardless of the outcome, I do not expect it to decide the outcome of the Championship.

"There are four games to come after today and the Championship is a league in which you can drop points against any side. That said, if we can get the win, it will put the pressure all on Dundee."

Hartley is aware of that pressure and admits his players' nerves will be tested just as much as their skill this afternoon.

"It's about bottle and keeping your nerve. They're all big games when you reach this stage of things and it's the kind of games players want to play in. We are looking forward to it. Hamilton are tough opponents but we will try to look after ourselves first and foremost.

"Our fans are going there in great numbers and it would be nice to give them something to shout about. We know what Hamilton's strengths and weaknesses are so it's up to us to go there and try to win the game."

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