Formartine United take on Cove Rangers in tonight’s Morrison Motors (Turriff) Aberdeenshire Shield quarter-final at North Lodge Park in a tasty appetiser to next month’s Scottish Cup encounter.
United striker Garry Wood says this evening’s match will have no impact when the sides meet again on January 19 with a place in the last 16 of the national cup at stake.
Cove, who are the home side this evening but have conceded ground rights, recorded a comfortable 4-0 victory when the teams met on league duty at North Lodge Park on September 30. United got their revenge in last month’s Aberdeenshire Cup final with Wood scoring the only goal at Balmoor Stadium.
The former Caley Thistle and Ross County player said: “I don’t really think this one is a dress rehearsal for next month’s Scottish Cup tie.
“We’re still a month away from playing them in the Scottish Cup but this game is vitally important because of where we are in the league table.
“It seems very unlikely that we’re going to win the championship so the cups are our definitely our priority this year.
“It doesn’t get much harder than a cup tie against Cove as they’re the best team in the league but we played really well in the Aberdeenshire Cup final at the start of last month.
“We’ll have to play just as well as they have so much quality in their team.
“If we perform to our capabilities there is no reason we can’t get a positive result.
United’s only absentee is defender Scott Henry, while Cove Rangers manager John Sheran will be without three key players.
He said: “Unfortunately, our captain Eric Watson and striker Jonny Smith are unavailable and midfielder Jamie Masson is suspended. I don’t think this one will have much bearing on next month’s Scottish Cup tie but you want to win any time you face your closest rivals.
“I just hope the game is on. We trained in Aberdeen on Monday night and everything was still pretty icy.
“Everybody has a lot of big games to play between now and when we face Formartine again in the Scottish Cup and that will be a one-off.
“I’m sure both sides won’t be thinking too far ahead and fully focused on this game.”