Fraserburgh’s Highland League title hopes may be over but assistant manager James Duthie says his side still has plenty to play for in its final five matches.
The Broch, who host newly-crowned champions Cove Rangers at Bellslea Park tonight, are chasing a second-place finish which would guarantee a place in the second round of next season’s Scottish Cup.
A 4-0 defeat at Wick Academy left them eight points adrift of second-placed Inverurie Locos, who have played three games more.
Duthie hopes his players, unbeaten in nine games at Bellslea against Cove, can enhance their prospects of finishing best of the rest with a positive result against John Sheran’s men.
He said: “Our recent record against Cove is pretty good and we feel we have something to prove after our 4-0 loss at Wick, a result which handed Cove the title. We need to show a bit of character as our recent results haven’t been nearly good enough.
“We have a really difficult run of games to end our season and it will be a tough ask to finish second as we’ve let things slip recently. But it is still in our hands if we win our last five games.”
The Broch are without the suspended Marc Dickson, while Jamie Beagrie and Aidan Combe are also unavailable.
Cove assistant manager Graeme Mathieson says his players are determined to complete the season unbeaten, having clinched the title with 26 wins and three draws from 29 games.
He said: “It’s nine games since we last beat the Broch at Bellslea and this is always one of the biggest games of our season.
“Winning the league at the weekend has taken a wee bit off it but we want to keep our season-long unbeaten league record going as well as ending the hoodoo the Broch appear to have over us.
“I’m pretty sure every one of the players will be asking to play at Bellslea but with five games still to go we will probably shuffle the pack again.
“We’ve made seven changes to the starting line-up in each of our four games last week.
“It’s important that every player gets as much football as possible while trying to keep them fresh at the same time.”