THE wet weather put paid to Nairn County's trip to Deveronvale in the first round of the Highland League (Morganti) Cup last weekend, so the two clubs will try again this Saturday with the winner now knowing that they will face a home tie against Turriff United in the quarter finals.
The two clubs have met twice on league business earlier in the campaign with Deveronvale edging Nairn out by the odd goal in three back in August while an injury-time header from Callum Maclean prevented it from being the same score and Princess Royal Park in November as the two clubs battled out a 2-2 draw.
Both sides will see it as a winnable tie and Deveronvale will feel aggrieved not to have taken anything from their last two outings having been narrowly beaten by Wick Academy and Fraserburgh, both at home. With manager Steve Dolan having recently signed a contract extension, there is a growing sense of stability among the Banffers again after some turbulent spells in recent years and cup run will be the perfect tonic for the hosts as they look the finish the season on a high.
Nairn make the trip with similar aspirations and after a summer of turmoil put them several steps behind their competitors in the league at the start of the season, they make the trip east with a squad that is now up to speed and has continued to excel itself, although a lack of depth and rotation options has seen some lethargic performances at times.
It is all setup to be a keenly-contested cup tie between two evenly-matched teams and if you cannot make it along to Princess Royal Park then you can follow all of the action on the club's official social media channels facebook.com/nairncountyfc and @NairnCounty on Twitter with team lines available before kick-off, updates on all of the action as it happens during the game, a report on the final whistle and the thoughts of manager Ronnie Sharp later in the evening. A preview of the match is available below.
Date: Saturday February 18th 2017
Competition: Highland League (Morganti) Cup first round
Manager: Steve Dolan
Venue: Princess Royal Park, Banff
Previous meeting: Deveronvale 2 Nairn County 2 November 26th 2016
Last time out: Deveronvale 1 Fraserburgh 2; Nairn County 2 Cove Rangers 5
League position: Deveronvale 15th Nairn County 13th
Form guides: Deveronvale LDLLLL Nairn County DLLDWL
Team news: Despite being sent off against Cove Rangers last time out, Jack Maclean is eligible for this cup tie with his one-match suspension only applicable for league fixtures. But Ronnie Sharp will have to do without top scorer Gary Kerr, who serves a one-match ban having been red carded in this competition last season for his former club, Strathspey Thistle. Paul Macleod came off at half time during last the match against Cove a fortnight ago but he is in the squad for this one and backup goalkeeper Ryan Macleod returns having been recently unavailable due to work commitments.
One to watch: Paul Sutherland. The attacking wide player caused Nairn a number of problems down the right-hand side when these two clubs met at Princess Royal Park two-and-a-half months ago. He grabbed the opening goal that day and created a number of chances for his team mates, which were repelled by the County defence and goalkeeper, Dylan Maclean. He is set to be a threat for the home side again tomorrow as both clubs vie to make it into the last eight of the competition.
Match officials: Referee Ben Dempster, Assistants Lee Robertson and Alan Dawson.
Weather forecast: Sunny intervals 11 degrees 12 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).