United face tough Cove task

North Lodge Park: An­der­son ready for visit of un­de­feated league lead­ers

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen) - - SPORT -

For­mar­tine United are the lat­est High­land League club to try to stop the Cove Rangers jug­ger­naut when the pair go head-to-head in a High­land League match at North Lodge Park this af­ter­noon.

The no­madic Aber­do­nians are fly­ing high, still un­de­feated at the top of the ta­ble hav­ing scored 47 goals and con­ceded just four in 10 matches. Fort Wil­liam have been strug­gling this sea­son but Buckie This­tle man­ager Graeme Ste­wart will take noth­ing for granted when the two sides meet at Vic­to­ria Park this af­ter­noon.

The High­land League cham­pi­ons are strong favourites at home but Ste­wart knows it is folly to ex­pect an easy day’s work.

He said: “Tra­di­tion­ally, we’ve al­ways found it hard against Fort Wil­liam. We have quite a few play­ers

Ex­pe­ri­enced For­mar­tine mid­fielder Stu­art An­der­son is well aware of the task fac­ing him and his Pitmed­den team-mates.

An­der­son said: “They are fly­ing and the play­ers they have re­cruited, who have all played at a higher level, shows you their in­ten­tion.

“We know a lot about Jamie Mas­son as he used to be here. We know just how good a player he is, so it will be a tough ask for us at North Lodge Park.

“How­ever, all the pres­sure is on them to main­tain their un­beaten record while out to­mor­row, in­clud­ing at­tack­ers Chris An­gus, Sam Urquhart and Stu­art Tay­lor, as well as de­fender John Mait­land. We’ll only have three guys on the bench, so we cer­tainly won’t be tak­ing them lightly.

“Be­fore I took over we lost at home to Fort Wil­liam and that was prob­a­bly what cost my pre­de­ces­sor Gary Hake his job.”

Fort add ex­pe­ri­enced de­fender Andy Martin and Iain MacLel­lan to the trav- we are just find­ing our feet, as it were.

“We can re­lax go­ing into this one as there’s ab­so­lutely no pres­sure on our­selves.

“If we get any­thing form the game it will be a bonus for us as no one ex­pects us to take any­thing from it.”

Re­flect­ing on the fire­power on show this af­ter­noon, the for­mer Southamp­ton mid­fielder added: “They have Mitch Meg­gin­son, who leads the league scor­ing charts on 17 goals, but our own Archie Macphee is only one be­hind him on 16, and he’s elling squad lead­ing scorer John Trea­surer and cen­tral de­fender Iain Foggo are un­avail­able through work com­mit­ments.

Brora Rangers are with­out goal­keeper Joe Malin for the visit of Nairn County to Dud­geon Park.

Huntly have re­leased mid­fielder Lewis In­gram, who made 33 ap­pear­ances over four sea­sons for the Black and Golds.

Huntly to­day take on Tur­riff United, who have only played in at­tack fairly re­cently, so he’s just as big a threat.”

Cove Rangers man­ager John Sheran said: “For­mar­tine are one of the top teams in the league and they have proved that over the last few years.

“Ir­re­spec­tive of who is in charge of them they have a eight play­ers in­jured or un­avail­able.

Deveron­vale and In­verurie fan­tas­tic squad of play­ers, so we all know it is go­ing to be a re­ally tough game. They will be go­ing all out to im­press their new man­ager Paul Law­son.

“Games be­tween For­mar­tine and Cove are al­ways full of ex­cite­ment and a lot of good foot­ball and I don’t see this one be­ing any dif­fer­ent.”

Cove Rangers’ only ab­sen­tee is for­ward Jonny Smith.

Else­where, sec­ond­placed Fraser­burgh face For­res Me­chan­ics for the sec­ond time in a week. Lo­cos meet at Princess Royal Park. Vale are still with­out at­tacker Chris Black­hall but cen­tre half Michael Dunn and goal­keeper Grant Pen­net are added to the squad, while Lo­cos travel with­out for­ward Neil Gauld, who has a groin in­jury, and at­tack­ing mid­fielder Colin Charlesworth, who has a ham­string prob­lem.

Keith man­ager Ewan Robb has a fully fit squad at his dis­posal ahead of the

Last Satur­day the Broch knocked the Can-Cans out of the Scot­tish Cup 2-1 at Bell­slea and this time the pair go head-to-head at Mos­set Park.

Me­chan­ics are with­out for­ward Scott Moore, while full-back Si­mon Al­lan has a knee in­jury but goalscor­ing mid­fielder Stu­art Soane is set to re­turn.

Fraser­burgh also face se­lec­tion con­cerns with lead­ing scorer Gary Har­ris on hon­ey­moon and de­fend­ers Marc Dick­son, Lewis David­son and Ryan Cowie all in­jured. Kynoch Park tus­sle with man­ager­less Lossiemouth.

Clach­nacud­din meet Strath­spey This­tle at Grant Street Park.

Clach man­ager Iain Pol­worth said: “It is a dif­fi­cult one for us in what is as close to a lo­cal derby as we’re go­ing to get.”

Strath­spey will be with­out cen­tre half and cap­tain Scott Hume as he is sus­pended, while Andy Reid also misses out with a pulled ham­string. Rothes man­ager Steven MacDon­ald won’t have to think hard about how to mo­ti­vate his side ahead of this af­ter­noon’s Wil­liam Hill Scot­tish Cup re­play against Edus­port Academy.

MacDon­ald was left an­gry and con­fused on Thurs­day af­ter Edus­port’s ap­peal against cen­tral de­fender An­gelo Stayer’s sec­ond yel­low card last week was up­held by the SFA, mean­ing he can now play at Mackes­sack Park this af­ter­noon, while at the same time Speysiders at­tacker Kris Dun­can was sum­mar­ily given a twom­atch sus­pen­sion for his part in the same penalty in­ci­dent.

MacDon­ald said: “The SFA has more or less done my pre-match team talk for me, that and the in­cen­tive of a pos­si­ble sec­ond derby at El­gin City, there should be no other mo­ti­va­tion re­quired. We know they are a good side, so we will have to be at our very best to go through, but we are still un­beaten at Mackes­sack Park this sea­son and we will try to play on that. We will also have a big sup­port be­hind us.

“Un­for­tu­nately, we now have cen­tral de­fender Paul MacLeod out with the cracked ribs he picked up against Edus­port in last week’s game, Jamie Wil­son is un­avail­able and fel­low for­ward Craig Cor­mack is still out with a back in­jury, so we only have 14 signed play­ers fit and avail­able.”

Wick Academy hope to go on bet­ter than last week­end in their first-round re­play at Stir­ling Univer­sity.

Academy man­ager Tom McKenna said: “We will prob­a­bly start as un­der­dogs and that’s not such a bad thing as it puts less pres­sure on us as a team.

“I am feel­ing fairly con­fi­dent, as are all the lads, and we’re not ex­pect­ing any prob­lems with the ar­ti­fi­cial sur­face we’re play­ing on to­mor­row as we train on it all the time.”

BY DAVE ED­WARDS

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