Written by Nairn County FC July 22nd 2016

RONNIE Sharp has lost a dozen players from the squad that finished last season, including top scorer Conor Gethins but the new boss is formulating a way to ensure County remain a potent attacking threat, writes Graeme Macleod. Sharp took charge of Nairn for the first time since reprising his role as the club's manager after a 12-year absence and unveiled a completely new-look team in last night's Bridgemill Direct Challenge Match against Nairn St Ninian. After the final whistle, Sharp said: "We are looking to be quicker and stronger up front from last year. We lost Conor Gethins and that is a lot of goals to lose out of a team but hopefully the boys who have come in can pick up the slack and we can score a few." "I thought our trialist centre forward Gary Kerr had an excellent game. He has had very little training because he picked up an injury. Young Jordan (Macrae) also did very well in his first full game for the club and Ross (Naismith) did well on the right hand side as well –┬áhe has not played a lot of football over the last few years." He added: "It was a hard game and I thought St Ninian played really well. They pushed us very hard and that is what we needed. The boys have only played one game against Inverness CT, where they did not have a lot of the ball but this was different tonight." "We are a few weeks behind where most teams are in terms of our pre-season, so we are trying to play catch up. I thought we looked good going forward and we scored some good goals. At the back, we made a few mistakes but hopefully we will be able to sort that out on the training park and we will take it from there." "We have another hard game on Saturday against Inverness City, so we will see how that goes. I thought we did well tonight for our first game though against a St Ninian team who have been playing against some good sides, such as Strathspey and Clach. They certainly showed up well tonight." As well as a new front line, Sharp also had a completely different back four, which include goal-scoring trialist, Calum Riddell. The manager said: "It is totally new. There are about a dozen players out from last year's team and we have put together a totally new back four and front line. It is going to take a good couple of months to bed it in but the season starts a week on Saturday, which is a bit soon for us and it is not an easy start but we will just have to work at it, try to get the shape right and knock the ball about like we did tonight." Gary Kerr's double, a Wayne Mackintosh thunderbolt and a first senior goal for young striker Jordan Macrae added to Riddell's opener to secure the Bridgemill Direct Shield. Sharp added: "It is terrific for young boys and to even get on and play for a Highland League club, never mind score like Jordan did tonight." "It is great for them all who played tonight and I am trying to get them all involved. Over the next couple of weeks, hopefully I will be able to bring some new players in to add to it, so we do not have to rely on the young boys and can allow them to develop at their own pace." Graeme Macleod

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