Sparks are sure to fly at Newlandsfield on Saturday in the meeting of Premiership big guns Pollok and Auchinleck Talbot.

Senior football having an international weekend could pave the way for one of the biggest crowds of the Junior season to date converging on the Glasgow Southside to provide a fitting atmospheric backdrop - and already bookmakers have lit the fuse for fireworks by rating Pollok’s chances of coming good in front of their own supporters at a price of 21/10 against.

In fairness to the odds compilers, Tony McInally’s men have not exactly made the best of starts in their bid to be crowned top-flight champions for the first time in a decade, however it is almost unheard of for the 'Lok to be unceremoniously written off (Talbot are 8/11 favourites) on their own home turf.

This situation rankles with Pollok assistant manager Murdie McKinnon, who was at pains to point out that nobody in the home team dressing room is fearing the prospect of going head to head with the Ayrshire kingpins in the powderkeg clash.

Indeed he was in bullish mood when saying: “I won’t deny it is a massive game for us but it is every bit as massive for Auchinleck and I’m willing to bet Tommy Sloan isn’t thinking the points are as good as in the bag.

“We know what to expect because home or away, Talbot players are never ones for sitting back and allowing their opponents to play their normal game so first and foremost we have to be prepared to match their commitment and aggression.

“If we can do that and get ourselves a foothold then there is no shortage of match-winners in our ranks."

Murdie has been irked by the absence of key players which he feels has contributed to Pollok’s stuttering start to their league campaign.

He revealed: “I don’t believe it is any secret that we have encountered more than our fair share of injuries since the season got underway .

“Grant Evans is only back at training this week after knee surgery in the close season while Gary McCann has yet to start a game and Sean Fraser has been ruled out for over a month on top of the shorter absences suffered by Mark Sideserf, Paul Gallagher, Adam Forde and Ryan McGregor.

“Achieving any continuity when having to chop and change in every game has been nigh on impossible yet we are still in contention for the league title despite everything and that has to be a positive.

“And a further boost is we have most of the guys coming back to full fitness and feeling upbeat so I’m confident we can soon be making up ground on the teams above us in the table."

Mention of fitness raised the question on the 'Lazarus' type recovery of feted Pollok striker David Gormley, who at the start of August had been rumoured to be on the verge of announcing his retirement due to a debilitating knee injury .

Murdie lauded: "Gormz stepped into the breach and offered to play through the pain barrier when injuries were preventing us from putting out a full team.

“His performances have been nothing short of outstanding and he is now looking so much fitter as well as having a renewed appetite for the game so he will relish going up against his former team-mates.”

Auchinleck will travel through to Glasgow in confident mood following last weekend’s 10-0 hammering of Scottish Cup opponents Wigton & Bladnoch, which gave wily gaffer Sloan an opportunity to rest key players Stevie Wilson, Jamie Glasgow, Sean McIlroy and skipper Willie Lyle.

The quartet are sure to be back in contention for starting jerseys on Saturday for what the Ayrshire club’s fanatical followers believe will be anything but an unlucky 13th game of the season.

On the transfer front , Cumnock have snapped up Girvan defender Craig Reid and ex-Queen of the South forward Dan Carmichael ahead of hosting the visit of Troon .

PLAYING SATURDAY (Kick Offs 2PM) Premiership: Petershill v Largs Thistle, Cumnock v Troon ,Pollok v Auchinleck Talbot, Renfrew v Irvine Meadow, Kilwinning Rangers v Beith, Kilbirnie Ladeside v Rob Roy, Hurlford Utd v Cambuslang Rangers, Glenafton v Championship: Girvan v Kello Rovers v Whitletts Vics v Dalry Thistle, St Rochs v Craigmark, Arthurlie v Darvel, Neilston v Rossvale, Benburb v Irvine Vics, Dalry Thistle v Benburb, Rutherglen Glencairn v Kilsyth Rangers, Cumbernauld Utd v Larkhall Thistle. League One:Blantyre Vics v Port Glasgow, Shettleston v Maybole, Wishaw v Glasgow Perthshire, Yoker Athletic v Lugar Boswell, Bellshill Athletic v Ardrossan Winton Rovers , East Kilbride Thistle v Royal Albert,Gartcairn v Greenock, Maryhill v Shotts Bon Accord League Two:Muirkirk v Forth Wanderers,Annbank Utd v Vale of Clyde,St Anthonys v Lanark Utd , Carluke Rovers v Ardeer Thistle, Lesmahagow v Newmains Utd , Ashfield v Thorniewood Utd ,Saltcoats Vics v Johnstone Burgh .