FOLLOWING a narrow victory over Keith at the weekend it is another Speyside opponent for Nairn County as they make the trip to much-improved Rothes knowing that they will need to be at the top of their game if they want to add to the 19 points they have accrued already this season.
Manager Ronnie Sharp felt that his players were far from their best in the weekend victory over the Maroons and will know that the trip to MacKessack Park poses a farm sterner challenge with the Speysiders having made an impressive start to the season themselves with 16 points from their opening nine fixtures. That leaves them only 10 points short of their tally for all of last season and their manager Steven MacDonald will be eager to reach that target sooner rather than later.
Rothes were unfortunate not to take anything from their weekend trip to Turriff United with the home side edging it by a single goal despite Rothes going down to 10 men in the first half. They will be looking forward to being back on familiar turf as they boast an unbeaten home record this season, winning four and drawing one of their fixtures at MacKessack Park having found the back of the net 15 times and only conceding four.
If you cannot make it through to MacKessack 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: Wednesday September 13th 2017
Competition: Scottish Highland Football League
Manager: Steven MacDonald
Venue: MacKessack Park, Rothes
Previous meeting: Rothes 0 Nairn County 2 April 22nd 2017
Last time out: Turriff United 1 Rothes 0; Nairn County 2 Keith 1
League position: Rothes 9th Nairn County 4th
Form guides: Rothes DLWLWL Nairn County WWWLLW
Team news: Callum Maclean is free from suspension for this one having served a ban at the weekend following his red card at Formartine United but he is struggling to shake off a knee injury in time to feature. Jack Maclean was taken off early in the second half against Keith on Saturday with a minor strain and he will be assessed ahead of kick-off, as will top scorer Dylan Mackenzie - who was substituted at the same time as Maclean due to a head knock - and goalkeeper Dylan Maclean, who received a clattering as he took a high ball deep into injury time at the weekend. On-loan goalkeeper Stephen Foster is available for the squad again having been out through concussion of late while Gregg Main is still sidelined with a knee injury. Callum Ednie joins Jason Morganti and Stephen Mackenzie in missing this one because of work commitments with Calum Riddell unavailable through illness, as does Matty Macleod.
One to watch: Jaime Wilson. The young attacking midfielder has started his Rothes career in fine form having moved to MacKessack Park a few weeks ago. He has already faced Nairn this season when he featured for Clach as a trialist coming off the bench in the 1-1 draw at Station Park last month and indeed could have won it for the Lilywhites but placed a late chance across goal and past the post. After having trials at various senior clubs throughout the summer, he settled on a switch to Rothes for his second bite at Highland League football having bagged himself a handful of goals during a loan spell at Clach during the second half of last season and has hit the ground running with a goal in the win over Deveronvale followed by a hat-trick in the 6-2 thrashing of his former club. Capable of scoring all types of goals, he will be a key man for manager Steven MacDonald as Rothes make strides up the table this season.
Match officials: Referee Alan Proctor, Assistants Stewart Riddoch and Davy Robertson.
Weather forecast: Light cloud 10 degrees 7 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).