IT was an encouraging start to the new season for Nairn County despite a 4-0 home reverse to Brora Rangers which leaves Ronnie Sharp's men bottom of the Scottish Highland Football League table by virtue of goal difference and alphabetical order.
The tough start to the 2016/17 campaign continues though as County embark upon a run of five consecutive fixtures against clubs from the traditionally-strong Aberdeenshire FA region as Deveronvale visit Station Park on Saturday looking to build on their winning start to the campaign as they overcame Fort William 4-2 last weekend. A preview of the Banffers' trip to Nairn is below:
Date: Saturday August 6th 2016
Competition: Scottish Highland Football League Championship
Manager: Steve Dolan
Venue: Station Park, Nairn
Previous meeting: Nairn County 3 Deveronvale 2, November 28th 2015
Last time out: Nairn County 0 Brora Rangers 4; Deveronvale 4 Fort William 2
League position: Nairn County 18th Deveronvale 5th
Form guides: Nairn County L Deveronvale W
Team news: Ronnie Sharp faces something of a defensive crisis with Paul Macleod missing the game due to getting married and Calum Riddell performing best man duties at the ceremony. On top of that, Callum Ednie sustained an ankle injury on his debut last week and fellow left back Kenny McKenzie is still on the treatment table nursing a knee injury. Midfielder Gregg Main also remains sidelined because of the ankle injury he suffered towards the end of last season while Ross Naismith is only available for the first hour due to work commitments. On the positive side, skipper Wayne Mackintosh returns after holidays while this week's signings Jamie Mackay and Dylan Mackenzie are both contention to make their official debuts for the club. Trialists Jason Morganti and Marc Macdonald are both returning from injury and are unlikely feature at this stage but fellow trialists Stephen Mackenzie, Chris Moir and Willie Barron are all in the squad.
One to watch: Gary Harris. The nippy striker might have seen red on his last visit to Station Park which resulted in a lengthy ban but he is always a troublesome threat to the County back line whenever he lines up against Nairn, going back this days with Keith and Turriff United. He is already up and running for this season too bagging a brace in the opening day win over Fort William last Saturday. The makeshift County defence will have to be wary to prevent him from adding to his tally in this one.
Match officials: Referee Graham Fraser Assistants Mike Sinclair and Andy Ewan
Weather forecast: Light cloud 16 degrees 9 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).