CHAMPIONSHIP hopefuls Formartine United welcome Nairn County to North Lodge with the hosts in the knowledge that a victory could take them above Ronnie Sharp's men in the current Highland League standings on goal difference.
The men from North Lodge parted company with their manager Kris Hunter after last weekend's home defeat to Clachnacuddin, which came off the back of a loss at Buckie Thistle and a draw with Deveronvale. But stand-in boss Jerry O'Driscoll delivered a victory at Turriff United on Wednesday night as he got his caretaker reign off to the perfect start with a 4-2 success at The Haughs.
Nairn turned the tables on Wick Academy on Wednesday night as they battled back from two goals down to the Scorries at Station Park to dump the men from Caithness by the odd goal in five thanks to Dylan Mackenzie's first senior hat-trick. Ronnie Sharp was pleased with the character shown by his players to take all three points from a losing position and it will take a similar amount of belief to take anything from this trip to Pitmedden. A preview of the match is below:
Date: Saturday September 2nd 2017
Competition: Scottish Highland Football League
Opponents: Formartine United
Manager: Jerry O'Driscoll (caretaker)
Venue: North Lodge, Pitmedden
Previous meeting: Formartine United 2 Nairn County 0 December 24th 2016
Last time out: Turriff United 2 Formartine United 4; Nairn County 3 Wick Academy 2
League position: Formartine United 6th Nairn County 3rd
Form guides: Nairn County WWDWWW Formartine United WWDLLW
Team news: Adam Naismith misses the trip to North Lodge as he is away on a works course while young defender Craig Munro also has work commitments and is unavailable. Teenage striker Matty Macleod misses out through illness while midfielder Ewen Urquhart is a doubt because of an ankle knock. Gregg Main is still sidelined with a knee injury despite taking part in light running over the last week, Stephen Foster is still suffered the after-effects of the concussion he sustained in the win over Lossiemouth last weekend and Calum Riddell is out because of on-going illness. Jason Morganti and Stephen Mackenzie cannot play due to work commitments.
One to watch: Archie Macphee. The former Elgin City captain has hit the ground running at North Lodge since his summer transfer from Elgin City. He spent three years at Borough Briggs and showed his versatility playing a range of positions including left back, left midfield and in the middle of the park. But it is in an attacking role where he has excelled since switching to Formartine United during the close season, having bagged an opening-day hat-trick in the 5-0 thumping of Inverurie Locos and never looking back. He packs a thunderous left peg and is powerful on the ball, meaning that he has the ability to easily find that crucial yard of space to fire a shot in and if it comes from anywhere within 30 yards of goal, then he will fancy his chances of finding the net.
Match officials: Referee Alex Shepherd, Assistants Daniel Donohoe and Kyle Shepherd.
Weather forecast: Sunny 15 degrees 13 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).