ONLY the second Saturday home match of the campaign for Nairn County takes place this weekend with Huntly the visitors to Station Park after an intensive early-season run which has seen Ronnie Sharp’s men play 10 games in just 35 days.
The latest of those was last weekend’s narrow 2-1 reverse at Buckie Thistle which left the visitors disappointed not to have taken anything out of the game having take a positive home point from the midweek clash with Rothes. The defeat to the Jags wiped out County’s three points that they were better off from games against the same club last season having turned the home defeat to Rothes into a draw and a home draw with Clach into a win (a defeat at Deveronvale was turned into a victory and a home win against Wick resulted in defeat this time around with all other outcomes the same). Anything from this visit of the Black and Golds will put Nairn up on last season again though having lost the corresponding fixture 5-2 at Station Park in October.
That will be a tough ask for the hosts though given the form of Huntly since the appointment of Martin Skinner as manager, first on a caretaker base before he was handed the Christie Park reins on a permanent basis. He has picked up pick wins over Fort William, Lossiemouth and Strathspey Thistle, impressive victories against Keith and Fraserburgh and saw his team more than hold their own in defeats to Cove Rangers and Brora Rangers. They will arrive at Station Park full of confidence following that 4-0 win at Lossie in their last outing and will target this game is one they can take full points from.
If you cannot make it to Station Park for Saturday’s match, you can follow all the action through the Nairn County social media channels. To do so, logon to facebook.com/nairncountyfc or follow @NairnCounty on Twitter with team line-ups available before kick-off, updates of all the talking points from the match as they happen, a report on the final whistle and reaction from the Nairn camp later in the evening. A preview of the match is:
Date: Saturday September 8th 2018
Competition: Scottish Highland Football League
Manager: Martin Skinner
Venue: Station Park, Nairn
Previous meeting: Huntly 2 Nairn County 3 February 3rd 2018
Last time out: Buckie Thistle 2 Nairn County 1; Lossiemouth 0 Nairn County 4
League position: Nairn County 14th Huntly 9th
Form guides: Nairn County LWLLDL Huntly WLLWLW
Team news: Ronnie Sharp is hoping to boost his squad with the return to action of Kenny McKenzie and Cohen Ramsay with the left-sided duo having trained this week after missing the last few games. Goalkeeper Dylan Maclean will remain on the sidelines though as he has strained ligaments in his foot and Adam Porritt is a doubt with a knee complaint, which he received treatment for on Thursday. Tom Maclennan is also out while Adam Naismith is unavailable due to work commitments. Gregg Main landed heavily on his wrist during last weekend’s match at Buckie Thistle but is set to declare himself fit to lead the team out. Jack Maclean came through 90 minutes for the under-20s last Saturday but has missed training this week due to work commitments while Craig Munro injured his ankle in the 1-1 draw with Rothes a week-and-a-half ago and also misses out.
One to watch: Matthew McDonald. The striker is back at Huntly and appears to have found a home after spells with Cove Rangers and Inverurie Loco Works since leaving Christie Park first time around. He found playing time hard to come by during his time with Cove although still showed his worth for John Sheran’s men with an impressive goals-to-games return while his spell at Harlaw Park was short-lived before he went back to Huntly on loan for the second half of last season. It was early on in that stint when the pacey forward looked to have bagged his team an unexpected point with nine men against Nairn as he struck a last-minute equaliser to make it 2-2 only for County to go up the park and net a winner. Since then, he has returned to Christie Park on a permanent basis and is among the goals this season, including in last weekend’s 4-0 victory at Lossiemouth.
Match officials: Referee Alan Proctor, Assistants John Black and Paul Grant.
Weather forecast: Light cloud 16 degrees 8 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).