Kevin McDonald is urging his Kilbirnie Ladeside team-mates to finish the year on a high as leading Super First Division title contenders.

Such lofty ambitions were only in the dreams of Garnock Valley supporting legions following a nightmare start to their club's league campaign which yielded up a mere eight points out of a possible 24.

Back then the Blasties were looking distinctly more relegation than promotion material.

However, they have rallied of late, stringing together a four-game unbeaten run ahead of a trip to table-toppers Hurlford United on Saturday.

The former Junior Scotland defender said: "It's yet another huge test for us, coming hard on the heels of facing Largs last week.

"More of the same desire and commitment will be needed at Blair Park if we are to get the better of Hurlford, who are much changed and clearly improved from the team we beat 1-0 in an Ardagh Glass Cup tie this season.

"One of their new faces is my former Irvine Meadow team-mate Simon Eeles, someone I feel never really had the chance to prove his worth at Meadow Park.

"Whenever he did get his chance, Simon looked an excellent footballer.

"He's not their only big gun, as they also have former Beith pair John Craig and John Spence."

Injured player-boss Stevie Swift's chances of a playing return are rated extremely doubtful.

However, McDonald reckons the likelihood is he and Mark Crilly will not change a winning line-up.

He added: "Shaun Dillon was immense at Barrfields, as were the two full-backs, Josh Mullen and Chris Malone.

"I don't see the managers trying to fix something that isn't broken. We certainly won't lack motivation."

Hurlford's fledgling gaffer Derek McCulloch last Saturday fielded a schoolboy at centre-half in United's 5-1 hammering of Whitletts.

McCulloch explained: "The young guy in question is Euan Blair, who is on loan from Morton and is shaping up as a terrific prospect.

"We also have ex-Ayr United and Cumnock front man Aaron Connolly champing at the bit to make his debut after a two-game suspension."

Meanwhile, Jim Geddes and his backroom team have tendered their resignations at Ardrossan Winton Rovers in the wake of a 3-1 defeat by Renfrew last weekend which left them deep in the Super First relegation mire.

Popular ex-Kilbirnie Ladeside gaffer Tommy Bryce and former Arthurlie and Largs Thistle boss Sandy McLean are among the names being linked with the vacant post.

A friendly may take place tonight between Kilwinning Rangers and Neilston at Woodfarm High School's 4G pitch.

The kick-off is scheduled for 7.30pm.