MANGERLESS Keith present Nairn County with their first challenge of 2018 as Ronnie Sharp’s side travels to Kynoch Park to take on a Maroons outfit that parted company with boss Ewan Robb during the week.
County were inactive last weekend with the winter weather seeing to the postponement of Saturday’s scheduled home match against Formartine United, which means that their last outing came a fortnight ago in the battling 1-1 draw away at Wick Academy.
Those same qualities will be needed again at Kynoch Park against a Keith side that is sure to be out to impress any potential new manager waiting in the wings with Robb having left his post with the club after overseeing home wins over Fort William and Strathspey Thistle early on in the season as well as an encouraging away victory at Fraserburgh. That success followed shortly after an encouraging 1-1 draw at home to Wick Academy and the home side will be confident of taking three points in this one.
County recorded their first win of last season and consequently, their first since Sharp’s return as manager, in this fixture in September 2016 with Gary Kerr’s second half strike proving to be the only goal of the game. Having drawn the return at Station Park and won the home meeting between the pair by two goals to one early on in this season, another tight encounter is sure to be in store when the two teams meet again this weekend.
You can follow updates from Kynoch Park as the match progresses by logging on to the club’s official social media channels at facebook.com/nairncountyfc and @NairnCounty on Twitter with team lines before kick-off, coverage of all the major talking points as the match progresses, a report on the final whistle and Sharp’s thoughts on the game later in the evening. Preview below:
Date: Saturday January 6th 2018
Competition: Scottish Highland Football League
Venue: Kynoch Park, Keith
Previous meeting: Nairn County 2 Keith 1 September 9th 2017
Last time out: Keith 0 Clachnacuddin 3; Wick Academy 1 Nairn County 1
League position: Keith 15th Nairn County 11th
Form guides: Keith LWLLLL Nairn County LLWLWD
Team news: Adam Porritt returns having missed the trip to Wick Academy a fortnight ago due to a festive holiday but Adam Naismith drops out of contention because of work commitments. His brother, Ross, who was unavailable for the game at Harmsworth Park because of work commitments again misses out due to the same reason. Callum Ednie is sidelined because of the hamstring injury he sustained in that 1-1 draw with the Scorries before Christmas with Dylan Mackenzie a doubt because of the groin strain he sustained in that fixture. Gary Kerr and Inaki Fernandino Soto only return from holidays the day before a game and may not be thrown into the team while on-loan midfielder Liam MacDonald completes his loan from Inverness CT on the day of the game and will return to his parent club in the meantime to continue his recuperate from an ankle injury. Gregg Main continues his rehabilitation having undergone knee surgery before Christmas.
One to watch: Donnie Fraser. An attacking wide midfielder with the potential to do damage for his team in this one. Fraser is a former Inverurie Locos and Turriff United player and has been in the Highland League for the past half-a-dozen seasons or so, clocking up a number of appearances with his former clubs and in his time at Kynoch Park. His direct style of running and his deliveries from wide areas will provide plenty of scoring opportunities for his team mates in front of goal and Nairn’s best chance of keeping things tight may be to stop the attacks at source by limiting Fraser.
Match officials: Referee Liam Duncan, Assistants Brian Dean and Alan Dawson.
Weather forecast: Light cloud 0 degrees 7 mph wind.
Admission prices: Adults £8 Concessions £5 (two children under the age of 14 are admitted for free if they are accompanied by a paying adult).