AFTER recent disappointing results and performances, Nairn County manager Ronnie Sharp will be hoping that a two-week break will have done his charges some good as they return to action with this Highland League (Morganti) Cup preliminary round tie with Buckie Thistle.
It is the third time in five seasons that Nairn have been one of the four Highland League sides to have been drawn in the preliminary round of the competition as they prepare to welcome the Jags to Station Park off the back of disappointing away defeats to Keith and Strathspey Thistle.
Those reverses saw Sharp’s men drop five places in the table as they went from the top half of the standings to the bottom of the mid-table pack in a fiercely-competitive and tight section of the standings. The County manager will be looking to put those displays in the past though as his team turn their attentions to the final piece of silverware of the season.
Buckie sit seventh in the table and will be confident of progressing having already defeated Nairn this season, with the Jags edging home by the odd goal in three when the two sides clashed at Victoria Park on league duty almost two months ago to the day.
There will be live updates from the match on the club’s official social media channels with team line-ups before kick-off, coverage of all the major talking points as they happen throughout the match, a report on the final whistle and reaction from the County camp later in the evening. A preview of the match is below:
Date: Saturday November 3rd 2018
Competition: Highland League (Morganti) Cup
Opponents: Buckie Thistle
Manager: Graeme Stewart
Venue: Station Park, Nairn
Previous meeting: Buckie Thistle 2 Nairn County 1 September 1st 2018
Last time out: Keith 2 Nairn County 1; Formartine United 2 Buckie Thistle 0
League position: Nairn County 14th Buckie Thistle 7th
Form guides: Nairn County WLDWLL Buckie Thistle LWLLWL
Team news: Midfield pair Ewen Urquhart and Tom Maclennan are set to hand Ronnie Sharp a boost going into this Highland League (Morganti) Cup preliminary round tie with both fit and raring to go ahead of the visit of the Jags. Missing out though are Ryan MacDonald and Kenny McKenzie as they are both attending a wedding while Adam Naismith has work commitments. Gregg Main is still side-lined through a knee injury, Inaki Fernandino-Soto is no longer part of the squad and Danny Highet has long term Saturday work commitments, so will not be available for the foreseeable future.
One to watch: Steven Ross. An out-and-out goal-scorer for the Jags, the centre forward helped himself to a decisive double as Buckie saw off Rothes by three goals to two at Victoria Park last weekend. He started out his career at Ross County – during which time he spent loan spells with Forres Mechanics and Brora Rangers – before trying his luck with Dumbarton and Elgin City in the SPFL. He returned to the Highland League for an 18-month spell with Brora Rangers where he started off like a house on fire bagging a barrowload of goals and finished his time by almost single-handedly winning the North of Scotland Cup final for the Cattachs by coming off the bench with the match with Fort William locked at a goal apiece to bag a late double and take the cup back north. He is now in his second season at Victoria Park and only needs a sniff in the box and the ball will be in the net.
Weather forecast: Light cloud 15 degrees 16 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).