FOOTBALL is back at Station Park as preparations for the 2018/19 Scottish Highland Football League season start with a pre-season friendly against Ross County, which will serve as a testimonial match for County skipper, Gregg Main.
The midfielder has endured a torrid time with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, which has kept him on the sidelines for over a year. But following successful surgery in December, the 31-year-old is back and raring to go having come through the first fortnight of pre-season training unscathed.
Manager Ronnie Sharp is pleased with how his build-up to the new campaign is going, with over 20 players in attendance at each of the eight training sessions held so far on Tuesday and Thursday evenings with double sessions on a Saturday. The boss will look to give all his available players a run out in this one as the squad builds up its match fitness ahead of the big kick-off away at Formartine United on Saturday July 28th.
Ross County returned to pre-season training during the week and will jet off for a training camp in Holland following this run out at Station Park to play two friendly fixtures before embarking upon their Betfred League Cup group stage campaign upon their return to Scottish soil. Managers Stevie Ferguson and Stuart Kettlewell have reshaped their squad following relegation from the Scottish Premiership at the end of last season with a number of new faces set to be on show in this one as the Staggies’ co-bosses begin their quest to return to the top flight at the first time of asking.
You can follow all of the updates from this one on the club’s social media channels by logging on to facebook.com/nairncountyfc or follow @NairnCounty on Twitter where you will find coverage of all of the incidents from the match as they happen, a report on the final whistle and reaction from the Nairn camp later in the evening. Meanwhile, a preview of the first match of the summer is below:
Date: Saturday June 30th 2018
Competition: Pre-season friendly
Opponents: Ross County
Managers: Steven Ferguson and Stuart Kettlewell
Venue: Station Park, Nairn
Previous meeting: n/a
Last time out: n/a
League position: n/a
Form guides: n/a
Team news: The man himself Gregg Main makes his eagerly-awaited return from injury having been out injured since April 2017 with a cruciate ligament injury. He has put himself through a punishing programme of rehabilitation and taken a full part in some cruelly pre-season training sessions as he looks to put his injury hell behind him and get back to his best in the middle of the park. Stephen Mackenzie has returned to the squad this summer following a year out due to increased work commitments but he is set to miss this match due to a minor injury picked up in training. Also on the sidelines is Danny Highet with the former Fort William player having sustained a knock to the ankle while young goalkeeper Fraser Wilkie dislocated his shoulder in training this week and will be out for at least the next fortnight. Last season’s top scorer, Jordan MacRae hobbled out of training with a hip injury on Thursday night while Seamus McConaghy, Cameron Maclean and Joe Cuthbert from the under-20s squad have been doing pre-season training with the first team squad but only the latter is available for this one with McConaghy working and Maclean away for the weekend. Gregg’s uncle and County legend Derek Main will be assisting manager Ronnie Sharp for the day, with the manager also hoping to be able to add one new face to his squad in time to feature.
Match officials: Referee Stewart Riddoch, Assistants John Black and Gary Falconer.
Weather forecast: Sunny 20 degrees 12 mph wind.
Admission prices: Adults £10 Concessions £5.