POLLOK, last season's League Cup winners, and beaten finalists Shotts are struggling to qualify for the latter stages this season.

Pollok, second bottom of their section, have won only one of their four games, against second division St Anthonys.

Today they have a difficult game against unbeaten local rivals Athurlie, who top the section.

Pollok will have keeper Archie McLean out with a groin strain and will try ex-Dumbarton keeper Derek Barnes.

Athurlie still have sweeper James Lasbrey suspended, but otherwise will have a full pool, and the pace of new signings Kevin Montague and Derek Rhodden could cause Pollok's defence problems.

Shotts will welcome back Craig Porter and David Kennedy against Carluke and must win to press section leaders Lanark. Missing from Shotts line-up will be full back Eddie Halford, out injured.

Johnstone Burgh have signed formed Lanark centre half Robert Hutcheson and he will face Benburb. A defeat for either would end their interest in the cup.

Out of the Burgh side is injured keeper Alan Donahoe, and

17-year-old Stevie Fulton will be his replacement. Another injury doubt is striker Jerry Peline, who scored two in mid-week against Neilston.

Benburb will have close-season signing Jim Creaney, from Athurlie, available after suspension but manager Jim Sinnett will be concerned at their defence losing six goals in the last two games.

Maryhill have home advantage against Petershill, who they beat by 3-2 only last weekend. Available again for selection are Maryhill pair Tom McAllister and Gordon Young who missed last weeks game. A win for Maryhill would set them up with a play off against the winners of section 9 currently led by Athurlie.

The big game in Ayrshire is between Cumnock and Auchinleck at Townhead Park. They had mixed fortunes in mid-week with Auchinleck surprisingly dropping two points in their 2-2 draw with Kello Rovers and Cumnock having a convincing 3-1 win over last season's cup winner, Glenafton.

Former Rangers striker Brian McGinty made his debut for Cumnock in mid-week and they hope he will be available today along with another new signing, left back John Plunkett from Tarff Rovers. Striker Paul McIntyre will return to the side after missing Wednesday's game as will centre half Chris McGowan and new signing Steven Maxwell.