A MIDWEEK postponement at Rothes meant that Nairn County dropped a place in the Highland League with Formartine United's thumping of lowly Lossiemouth putting the North Lodge club ahead of Ronnie Sharp's men on goal difference, albeit having playing one game more.
Nairn return to action with what will now be a third consecutive home match and they do not come any tougher than table topping Cove Rangers, who have made a barnstorming start to the 2017/18 season and at this stage, are already appearing a stick-on to lift the Highland League championship once more.
John Sheran's side has rattled in an incredible 39 goals in nine league outings so far this season, giving them an average of more than four goals per game having conceded only four times. They remain unbeaten with the only blot on their copybook a 1-1 draw with bogey side Fraserburgh and as well as their blistering league form, they have managed to juggle cup commitments too by progressing in both the Aberdeenshire Cup and Irn-Bru Challenge Cup, with an appetising tie against Northern Irish outfit, Crusaders to come in the latter competition as rewards for victories over Stenhousemuir and Hamilton Academical under-20s.
If you cannot make it along to Station Park to cheer the team on then you can follow the match through the club's official social media channels. Simply logon to facebook.com/nairncountyfc or @NairnCounty on Twitter to receive team lines before kick-off, updates on all of the major talking points as the match progresses, a report on the final whistle and reaction from the Nairn camp the next day. Meanwhile, a preview of the match is below:
Date: Saturday September 16th 2017
Competition: Scottish Highland Football League
Opponents: Cove Rangers
Manager: John Sheran
Venue: Station Park, Nairn
Previous meeting: Nairn County 2 Cove Rangers 5 February 4th 2017
Last time out: Nairn County 2 Keith 1; Cove Rangers 5 Turriff United 1
League position: Nairn County 5th Cove Rangers 1st
Form guides: Nairn County WWWLLW Cove Rangers WWWWWW
Team news: A knee injury keeps Callum Maclean on the sidelines for the visit of table-topping Cove Rangers to Station Park. Also out is Gary Kerr, as he is attending a wedding. Gregg Main continues to be sidelined by a long-term knee injury while illness rules out Calum Riddell. Goalkeeper Ryan Macleod is still away on holiday but fellow stopper Stephen Foster is available again after suffering a concussion while young striker Matty Macleod has also returned to training but he has been included in the under-20s squad for their match in Tain against St Duthus so will miss this one.
One to watch: Jamie Masson. The former Aberdeen youngster has been a revelation since switching to Cove Rangers from Formartine United in the summer. He never had the most productive of spells at North Lodge, so it may have been a surprise to see John Sheran snap in up in the close season but he has already proved to be a shrewd acquisition for the Aberdeen side as they embark on a seemingly relentless charge towards this season's Highland League championship. Capable of playing wide in midfield or further forward, Masson is a tall and powerful presence and has managed to grab himself four goals in Cove's last three outings. He spent time on loan to Elgin City earlier in his career and brings a pedigree and grit that Sheran knows is required to go all the way in the title race.
Match officials: Referee Thomas Shaw, Assistants Scott Matthew and Kieran Johnston.
Weather forecast: Sunny 12 degrees 10 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).