Cove skip­per not ready to let shield go with­out fight

Evening Express (City Final) - - At The Races - BY CAL­LUM LAW

COVE Rangers cap­tain Eric Wat­son lifted the Aberdeen­shire Shield last sea­son.

And he al­ready has his sights set on re­peat­ing the feat this sea­son.

The Gran­ite City team face ri­vals For­mar­tine United in round two of the Shield at the Bal­moral Sta­dium tonight.

In his time with Cove out­fit Wat­son has won 11 tro­phies. But he has never re­tained a cup com­pe­ti­tion and that is some­thing he would like to change as he bids to make it a hat-trick of Shield tri­umphs.

How­ever, Wat­son does not ex­pect an easy evening against a For­mar­tine team who have won their last four games.

He said: “As the hold­ers of the Shield, we would like to hold on to it for an­other year.

“It’s al­ways good to re­tain tro­phies. We haven’t man­aged to re­tain any of the cups in my time. It’s some­thing we don’t get to do very often and we’d like to do it this year.

“All the games we have with them are tough. Over the last cou­ple of sea­sons all the games be­tween us have been re­ally close and I don’t see it be­ing any dif­fer­ent.”

Cove have won the last two meet­ings of the sides. They edged past United 1-0 at the Bal­moral Sta­dium in Au­gust in the sec­ond round of the Evening Ex­press Aberdeen­shire Cup, be­fore win­ning 2-0 in the league in Septem­ber.

Wat­son scored the win­ner in the first game and be­lieves they can take con­fi­dence from it. He added: “There wasn’t much in that game at all.

“We can take heart from it. They had a cou­ple of chances and we had a cou­ple of chances but we man­aged to get the win and then man­aged to go on and win the tro­phy. We’re out to win this game as well.”

Cove come into tonight’s clash hav­ing won all 13 High­land League games they have played this term. That feat has been achieved de­spite hav­ing a num­ber of key play­ers miss­ing at var­i­ous points of the sea­son.

Wat­son said: “The way we have coped with in­juries shows the depth of the squad we have. We have play­ers who have been on the bench that will be think­ing they will be play­ing ev­ery week.

“John Sheran has mixed the team up and given ev­ery­body a run in the team.

“The re­sults we’ve had show that we can take these sus­pen­sions and in­juries and still man­age to grind out re­sults.”

For­mar­tine’s Garry Wood says they are tar­get­ing the Shield as a re­al­is­tic chance to win sil­ver­ware. Patchy league form means United have slipped seven points be­hind lead­ers Cove at the top of the ta­ble hav­ing played two games more.

Wood sees the Shield as a good chance to win some­thing and the striker said: “Due to our poor form ear­lier in the sea­son we are a bit be­hind in the league.

“So the Aberdeen­shire Shield and the High­land League Cup are more re­al­is­tic in terms of sil­ver­ware.

“We’re look­ing to win the tie tonight first, but also win the whole tour­na­ment.

“The main aim at the start of the sea­son is to get as much sil­ver­ware as we can.

“The league is the main aim but we’ve got to be re­al­is­tic about where we are just now and the Shield and the League Cup give us the op­por­tu­nity to get sil­ver­ware.

“Cove are do­ing re­ally well so it will be a tough game against them, it al­ways is.

“We’ve been on a good run. In the last eight games we have only had one draw and won the other seven.

“We’ve hit a bit of form, which is good to see af­ter an in­dif­fer­ent set of re­sults be­fore that.

“But this game is a step up in the class of op­po­si­tion. Hope­fully we have enough to win the tie and get through.”

Else­where, in the High­land League, Nairn County host Brora Rangers at Sta­tion Park and Fort William play Clach­nacud­din at Clag­gan Park.

Cove’s Eric Wat­son, right, was de­lighted to get his hands on the Aberdeen­shire Shield last sea­son

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