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Fort William improvement counts for nothing unless goals and points start to come, says assistant Paul Coutts

Fort William assistant manager Paul Coutts and manager Ashley Hollyer.
Fort William assistant manager Paul Coutts and manager Ashley Hollyer.

Assistant manager Paul Coutts is pleased to hear figures from other Highland League sides noting Fort William’s improvement.

However, Coutts – assistant to Ash Hollyer at Fort – thinks it’ll be worth nothing if they don’t start scoring goals and getting points on the board.

Fort, who are playing all of their league matches away from home this term, have started with defeats to strong opposition, in title hopefuls Rothes, Fraserburgh and Formartine United, conceding 10 goals without finding the net themselves.

Formartine boss Paul Lawson was the latest to label the Lochaber side “much improved”, but Coutts wants to start turning performances into goals and points, with this weekend’s clash against Forres Mechanics at Mosset Park their next opportunity.

Coutts said: “It’s a compliment getting that from guys who know the league and know where Fort William were before, and we’re really proud of the fact we’ve managed to keep things respectable and there’s signs of improvement.

“But none of it’s really worth much unless we can get the ball in the back of the net, first and foremost, and get points on the board.

“Forres are a very good team and I think them coming out of the league for a year has been talked about a lot, but they only missed out on two additional fixtures compared to us. I don’t think they’ll be weakened in any way.

“We respect them, but we don’t fear them. We’ll look to nullify their biggest threats if we can.”

Fort brought in several players, including a group from England, to boost their local core over the summer, and Coutts is happy with how their squad is coming together so far, adding: “It’s good the local boys know they have to fight for their shirt and when they’re in the starting 11, they’re there on merit.

“When you get to Highland League standard, no one should be handed a shirt. You have to earn it, and that’s what the boys are having to do and I think they’re thriving on that.”

Forres boss Charlie Rowley has also taken heed of Fort’s improvement, and says his side cannot afford to show any slackness as they look to record back-to-back wins.

Charlie Rowley.

Rowley added: “We managed to get off to winning ways against Strathspey last weekend, and now it’s hugely important we back it up against what I’m assuming is an improving Fort William side.

“The results maybe don’t suggest that, but the scorelines certainly look closer than in previous years.

“They maybe haven’t scored the goals they would have liked, but they’ve not been conceding as many.

“That suggests they are a bit more organised and have a bit more quality about them.

“It would be silly and naive of us not to show them the respect they deserve, if we take them lightly we could end up with zero points.”

Rowley continues to have selection concerns despite having midfielder Martin Groat and attacker Paul Brindle back among his squad, with Robbie Duncanson, Stuart Soane, Graham Fraser and Lee Fraser sidelined.


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