VICTORY over Fort William last weekend saw Nairn County move to within one win of the 30-point mark in the Highland League table and an away trip to Lossiemouth stands between them and achieving that total with four games to spare.
The Coasters proved a tough nut to crack back in October as they pushed Nairn all of the way in a narrow home win at Station Park despite being reduced to 10 men following the dismissal of Joao Rodrigues late on in the first half. Both teams will feel they should have added to their tallies on the day with Gary Kerr smacking the post with a late penalty kick which would have killed the game. But Lossiemouth will argue they were worthy of a point as Liam Archibald side-footed wide of the target from just a few yards out at the other end a few moments later.
The hosts were involved in a tight affair at Highland League (Morganti) Cup finalists Formartine United on Wednesday night, eventually succumbing to Neil Gauld's effort midway through the second half, which proved to be the only goal of the game. Having thrashed Brora Rangers at Grant Park just a couple of months ago, the Coasters will be confident of taking all three points on their own patch tomorrow.
If you are not able to make it through to Lossiemouth to support the team then you can follow the game online. Log on to facebook.com/nairncountyfc or @NairnCounty on Twitter to gain updates on all of the major talking points as the game progresses, team lines before the match, a report shortly after full time and reaction from the Nairn camp in the evening. Preview below:
Date: Saturday March 17th 2017
Competition: Scottish Highland Football League
Manager: Bobby Beckwith
Venue: Grant Park, Lossiemouth
Previous meeting: Nairn County 2 Lossiemouth 1 October 29th 2016
Last time out: Formartine United 1 Lossiemouth 0; Nairn County 5 Fort William 0
League position: Lossiemouth 12th Nairn County 14th
Form guides: Lossiemouth LLLWWL Nairn County WLWLLW
Team news: Suspension rules Gregg Main out of this one as he serves a two-match ban for an accumulation of cautions, which also means he will miss the midweek derby at Forres Mechanics on Wednesday night. Jamie Mackay and Ross Naismith are also both unavailable for the trip along the coast due to work commitments with goalkeeper Ryan Macleod still sidelined with the groin injury he sustained against Turriff United a fortnight ago. Dylan Maclean is pushing for inclusion in the squad though having been given the all-clear by his doctor to return to training this week following neck and head injuries. Meanwhile, under-20s midfielder Aaron Fraser is added to the squad.
One to watch: Martin Charlesworth. The experienced striker had seen it and done it in the Highland League and at the age of just 28, he is coming into his prime as a Highland League striker. He played an important part in Buckie Thistle's back-to-back championship successes in 2010 and 2011 and after a spell with Deveronvale, he moved on to Lossiemouth in the summer, giving the Coasters two of the most dynamic and wily strikers in the league to pick from in Charlesworth and Shawn Scott. The rapid attacker will look to hurt the Nairn defence with his pace and will be alive to anything lose in the box to ensure that he is a danger all day long.
Match officials: Referee Thomas Shaw, Assistants Mike Sinclair and Dan MacLeod.
Weather forecast: Light cloud 9 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).