A MUCH-IMPROVED performance will be required from Nairn County if they are to make it two wins in a row as they prepare to visit Rothes after a narrow home victory over bottom club Fort William on Wednesday night.
The games continue to come thick and fast for County with a hectic schedule up to the closing fixture of the 2017/18 Highland League season at Cove Rangers on Tuesday April 24th. This is the second of seven matches in just 20 days for Ronnie Sharp’s men as they make their way through the weather-enforced backlog.
The run started at Station Park in midweek with Max Ewan scoring the only goal of the game as the home side made heavy weather of taking all three points against Fort William. A game devoid of real chances at both ends of the park was settle by the teenager’s opportunistic strike but the visitors to MacKessack Park on Saturday will know full well that they will have to up their game if they want to return with another three points.
Home side Rothes pushed champions-in-waiting Cove Rangers all the way on Monday night with a Mitch Megginson penalty required to finally put the outcome to bed after Paul McManus had opened the scoring for Cove in the first half. The Speysiders will have taken heart with how well they faired against a team which has only dropped six points all season.
If you cannot make it to the match then you can follow live updates on the club’s official social media channels (mobile signal permitting). Simply logon to facebook.com/nairncountyfc or follow @NairnCounty on Twitter to receive team line-ups before kick-off, coverage of all the major talking points as the action progresses, a report on the final whistle and reaction from Ronnie Sharp in the evening. A preview of the match is below:
Date: Saturday April 7th 2018
Competition: Scottish Highland Football League
Manager: Steven MacDonald
Venue: MacKessack Park, Rothes
Previous meeting: Nairn County 2 Rothes 4 February 21st 2018
Last time out: Cove Rangers 2 Rothes 0; Nairn County 1 Fort William 0
League position: Nairn County 11th Rothes 12th
Form guides: Rothes WWLLLL Nairn County LWLLLW
Team news: The Nairn County squad is stretched to the limit for this one with 10 likely absentees. The good news is that top scorer Jordan MacRae is available again following suspension. But Kenny McKenzie, Ryan MacDonald and Danny Highet are all away and Adam Naismith and Ewen Urquhart are both sidelined due to calf injuries. Callum Ednie is not yet fit enough to return to the starting line-up and Inaki Fernandino-Soto is still working his way back to fitness after a recent groin problem. Craig Munro and Matty Macleod are on loan to Inverness City and Gregg Main is continuing his rehabilitation following anterior cruciate ligament surgery at Christmas. Cameron Maclean, Joe Cuthbert and Ryan MacBean from the under-20s squad have been called up to the first team for this match.
One to watch: Dale Gillespie. The experienced ex-Brora Rangers midfielder is at the heart of things with his new club, Rothes. He spent five successful years at Dudgeon Park where he won the lot, including a major role in back-to-back league championships for the Cattachs. He moved on in the summer in search of a new challenge, which led him to MacKessack Park, where he is central to a lot of the positive play in manager Steve MacDonald’s developing side due to his guile in the final third. He is sure to have a big part to play not only in this match tomorrow as the Speysiders go in search of three points but in future years to drive the club up the league table towards the championship challenging pack.
Match officials: Referee David Watt, Assistants Brian Fowlie and Andy Ewen.
Weather forecast: Light cloud 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).