HAVING played two home games against Championship opposition, Nairn County begin a series of three away friendly fixtures in the lead up to the start of the 2017/18 Highland League season with a trip to the other Station Park and an away match at Forfar Athletic.
This will be the Loons’ fourth match against a club from the Highland League and so far it has been a mixed bag for Gary Bollan’s men – a comfortable 4-2 win over Cove Rangers was followed by a 1-1 draw with Formartine United last week and then a 2-1 reverse to Inverurie Locos in midweek.
The former Airdrie boss will be looking to add the finishing touches to his team before they begin their League Cup Group Stages campaign with a visit to Brechin City on Tuesday evening. They then host Stirling Albion, pay a visit to Falkirk and finish with a home tie against Inverness CT before their League One season gets underway following their promotion from League Two through the playoffs at the end of last season.
The match is the latest in what has deliberately been a testing pre-season for Nairn following an almost non-existent build-up to last season. Ronnie Sharp has put his charges through energy-sapping encounters with two of the bookies’ favourites for this season’s Championship title and this tie will be no different against a team from just one league below that level.
If you cannot make it to the other Station Park to support the team then you can follow live updates from the match through our live matchday coverage on social media. Simply logon to facebook.com/nairncountyfc of @NairnCounty on Twitter and you will receive team lines before kick-off, updates as the match progresses, a match report on the final whistle and the views of manager Ronnie Sharp later in the evening. Preview below:
Date: Saturday July 15th 2017
Competition: Pre-season friendly
Opponents: Forfar Athletic
Manager: Gary Bollan
Venue: Station Park, Forfar
Previous meeting: n/a
Last time out: n/a
League position: n/a
Form guides: n/a
Team news: Ross Naismith misses the trip to Angus because of work commitments while Gregg Main and Gary Kerr both remain on the sidelines with knee injuries. Striker Kerr is hoping to get the all-clear to return to training on Tuesday following keyhole surgery but the news on skipper Main is not so positive, with the midfielder due to go for an MRI scan in the next few weeks to confirm the extent of an anterior cruciate ligament injury. Full back Ryan MacDonald completed his move to Station Park after his runout as a trialist against Inverness CT last Friday night and he is in line to make his official debut. Goalkeeper Ryan Macleod missed that match last week because of a groin problem but he is fit again and back in the squad. Jason Morganti and Stephen Mackenzie are still missing because of work commitments.
One to watch: Simon Mensing. It is a first look at the former St Johnstone and Hamilton Academical player for the Forfar supporters this weekend after he signed on with the club earlier in the week. The veteran midfielder has also turned out for the likes of Clyde, Motherwell, Raith Rovers and Livingston during a lengthy career, the majority of which was spent in the Premiership. A two-year spell Stateside with Atlanta Silverbacks and Carolina RailHawks ended with a switch to Airdrieonians last season and he has now committed his future to Forfar, where he will provide bags of experience for Gary Bollan’s men as they look to make a positive impression in League One.
Match officials: Referee Alex Shepherd, Assistants Thomas Shaw and Dawid Galazka.
Weather forecast: Rain showers 17 degrees 14 mph wind.
Admission prices: Adults £6 Concessions £3.