Masson confidence in Cove
Midfielder sure his side can handle pressure of being pacesetters
Cove Rangers midfielder Jamie Masson is confident his side will thrive under the pressure of leading the Highland League.
Manager John Sheran’s men hold a two-point lead at the top of the table having scored more goals – 39 – and conceded fewer – four – than any team in the division.
Former Dons player Masson reckons confident Cove, who also have a game in hand of nearest challengers Fraserburgh, can chalk up a fifth league win in a row against Nairn County at Station Park today. The Turriff United defender Russell McBride fears his side will be on the wrong end of another thrashing unless there is a vast improvement in performance against Brora Rangers this afternoon.
Ross Jack’s team went down 5-1 against Highland League leaders Cove Rangers in a one-sided encounter at Harlaw Park on Wednesday night.
McBride was bitterly disappointed with Turriff ’s showing against the High- land League leaders and has warned his team-mates of the consequences of another below-par display.
The former Fraserburgh captain said: “If we play as poorly as we did on Wednesday then we will get thumped again.
“Cove Rangers aren’t top of the league by chance, they are a great team but we gave them far too much respect.
“We have to let teams like that realise they are in a game when they come up against us. Cove could have scored six or seven in the first 30 minutes against us, we changed the shape at half-time but it just seemed to be wave after wave of attack.
“The players have to realise when it goes like that they need to keep playing and limit the damage.
“The score didn’t flatter Cove. They deserved their five goals.”
Things do not get easier for Turriff and McBride added: “We have Brora and to an end by Fraserburgh in midweek.
Locos lost 3-1 at Bellslea and Cooper wants a reaction when Forres Mechanics visit Harlaw Park today.
He said: “We didn’t want it as much as Fraserburgh and I told the players that after the game. Hopefully we can get back on the rails against Forres. We had been on a good run and I hope home advantage can help us try to build momentum again.
“It was a disappointing result on Wednesday. then Formartine United the following week in the Scottish Cup. Ryan Broadhurst hurt his hamstring in the first half while Mark Souter suffered a cut on his head but hopefully both will be fine for the game.
“We missed Neil Gauld at Fraserburgh. He’s been in fantastic form for us this season and hopefully he will be available.”
The Paul Lawson era begins at North Lodge Park today when the playermanager takes charge of Formartine United for the first time against Keith.
Lawson, who will be assisted
“It is a tough run of fixtures and we need every one of the players to step up as we were so far off the pace against Cove it was unbelievable. We need to have more belief in ourselves.”
Brora Rangers midfielder Mark Nicolson hopes to get one over his former Elgin manager Ross, who will be in the opposition dugout this afternoon.
The Cattachs made it four wins on the spin after defeating Clach 2-1 in midweek and Nicolson by former Aberdeen captain Russell Anderson, will be hoping to see his side build on its 6-1 win against Lossiemouth in midweek.
Huntly bid to avoid a fourth home defeat in a row when they host Clach at Christie Park.
Midfielder Calvin Roddie is suspended for Huntly following his red card against Deveronvale last week.
The Lilywhites have no fresh injury worries following their midweek loss at Brora Rangers. said: “Clach defended well and made it difficult for us but I felt we deserved the win as we played very well in the second half. Turriff will want to bounce back this weekend after losing against Cove.
“I know Ross Jack very well having played under him at Elgin City for five years. This is the first time I have come up against one of his teams so I know he will have them fired up, but we are on a good run and we want to keep that going.” One game at a time must be the mantra from Fraserburgh’s players as they try to keep the pressure on league leaders Cove Rangers when they travel to Lossiemouth today.
The Broch have lost just one of their opening 10 league games and are through to the semi-finals of the Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup, but manager Mark Cowie is refusing to get carried away and said: “We’re on a good run just now but we know how quickly this game can turn.
“We know we’ve got quality through the team and we’re showing it just now. We never get it easy at Lossie. They haven’t had the greatest of starts so they will be scrapping for everything and wanting to turn their season around, but we have to concentrate on ourselves.”
Lossie manager Ally Ewen will be hoping for a response from his players after their 6-1 mauling by Formartine in midweek.
Highland League champions Buckie Thistle will be hoping to get back to winning ways when they travel to Strathspey Thistle.
Midfielder Jay Cheyne will miss the trip to Seafield Park following his red card in the 3-0 defeat at Brora a week ago, but Shaun Carrol could feature after being recalled from his loan to Deveronvale.
Deveronvale go in search of their third win in a row when they travel to Fort William.
Manager Steve Dolan said: “We’re playing exciting football at the moment and the supporters have been entertained in recent games.
“We’re still a work in progress but we’ve worked on our fitness a lot during preseason and it shows.”
Midfielder Chris Blackhall is suspended for Vale following his dismissal in the 3-1 win at Huntly.
Rothes player-assistant manager Daniel Moore will be unable to help his side on the field at managerless Wick Academy as he serves a suspension following his red card in the 1-0 defeat at Turriff United last weekend.
Wick are without Alasdair Stark and Aidan Wilson after the on-loan duo returned to Caley Thistle.
BY DANNY LAW