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Highland League: Craig Ewen credits Charlie Rowley with preparing him for manager’s role at Keith; Brora want back-to-back wins; Wick chasing first victory

Craig Ewen (right) and Charlie Rowley.
Craig Ewen (right) and Charlie Rowley.

New Keith manager Craig Ewen says his time working under Forres Mechanics boss Charlie Rowley has provided him with the perfect apprenticeship for going it alone.

Ewen has taken charge at Kynoch Park on a three-year deal, succeeding co-managers Tommy Wilson and Andy Roddie ,who stepped down earlier this month.

It follows a five-year stint working as part of Rowley’s backroom team at Mosset Park.

Having previously been in charge at junior sides Deveronside and Buchanhaven Hearts, Ewen feels he is ready for the chance to manage in the Highland League.

Craig Ewen named new manager at Keith

Ewen said: “I’ll be forever in Charlie’s debt for taking a chance on me. He’s been in that job a good length of time, so he’s been a mentor-type figure for me.

“I’ve seen how he conducts himself as a manager and how he does things. What I’ve learned at Forres has made me more well-rounded as a manager and coach.

“Over the last year or two I’ve had that ambition to manage at Highland League level, so it was an opportunity that was too good to turn down. I feel I’m ready to make the step into the management role.”

Ewen hopes to get off to a winning start when the Maroons face Huntly at Christie Park on Saturday, and he added: “I know a lot about the history of Keith, and they’ve certainly had glory days and glory eras.

“It’s an exciting challenge for me. They have had a poor start in the league, the fixtures they have had in the league have been very tough.

“My aim is to try and win games of football and start climbing that league table and moving away from the bottom.

“I just need to try and get in and work hard to galvanise the young squad. They had a great result last week against Locos so there is obviously something there to work with.”

Huntly have faced disruption in the build up to the match, after a player tested positive for Covid-19, which caused the postponement of Wednesday’s Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup tie against Formartine United.

A further two players are self-isolating, however, four players who are double vaccinated have been cleared to play after returning negative PCR tests.

Huntly manager Allan Hale

Huntly boss Allan Hale said: “It’s been a challenging week, I don’t think there’s any hiding place from that.

“There has been a lot of correspondence with the various authorities. The safety and wellbeing of all our players as well as opposition players is at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

“This just serves as a reminder the virus is still there. As a club we have followed the protocols as stringently as possible.

“Unfortunately a case has appeared, which can happen when you’re working with part-time players.

“We have been quite fortunate, this is the first instance we have had, but the club has reacted superbly well to mitigate as much risk as possible.”

Brora want back-to-back wins after sticky spell

Brora Rangers ended a three-game losing streak with a 1-0 victory over Wick Academy in the North of Scotland Cup on Wednesday.

Cattachs interim boss Craig Campbell’s squad remains stretched, however, with Josh Meekings, Ally MacDonald and Matthew Wright going off injured, and Martin Maclean already sidelined with a calf problem.

Andy Macrae.

Brora attacker Andy Macrae hopes to continue the momentum against Fort William at Dudgeon Park on Saturday, and he added: “We just needed to get back on winning terms.

“I would be lying if I said the confidence hadn’t taken a knock. It has, but we are back to winning ways now.

“We knew it was going to be a battle at Wick and the aim was just to win, it didn’t matter how.

“From the results I have seen Fort William have not been as bad as they were last season.

“We have got to be on our toes again and try to get another win, hopefully we can get a couple more goals and make it back-to-back wins.”

Manson wants Wick to get monkey off their back with victory

Wick are still searching for their first win of the campaign, however, manager Gary Manson hopes to end that wait at home to Turriff United.

Gary Manson.

Manson said: “I told them not to be downbeat as Wednesday’s performance was good. Our first few league performances have been good, so it is coming. It’s just a matter of time.

“We just need that first win to get the monkey off our back. If we can get that break, I’m confident more wins will follow.”

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