Forres Mechanics may not have found top gear in the Breedon Highland League yet – but manager Charlie Rowley believes they can take the scalp of Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic in the Scottish Cup.
The Can-Cans have taken 13 points from their opening nine league fixtures, with boss Rowley frustrated they haven’t taken more.
In contrast Scottish Cup opponents Bonnyrigg are top of the Lowland League with 28 points from 12 games ahead of their trip to Mosset Park.
Rowley said: “Bonnyrigg are flying high in the Lowland League and in recent seasons have probably been the only realistic opposition to Kelty Hearts which I think tells its own story.
“They’re top of the league, although they had a disappointing defeat to a good Rangers B side last weekend.
“We had them watched last weekend and we’re well aware of what they’re capabilities are.
“If they were in the Highland League they’d be leading contenders to win it based on their performances so far so it’s a really difficult test for us.
‘We know we’re capable of giving any team a real test’
“We’ve been disappointed with our form. It’s not disastrous by any stretch of the imagination, but we could have had more points on the board.
“We’ve conceded three last minute goals in games and we’d have a better outlook on league position and performances if we hadn’t conceded those late goals.
“There’s certainly room for improvement from our perspective.
“We’re going in as quite significant underdogs given the league positions of the two sides.
“Maybe that takes a wee bit of pressure off or we’ve nothing to lose, but our intention is to play with no fear.
“On any given day we know we’re capable of giving any team a real test, hopefully that can be the case in this game and we can progress.
“We’re not going into the tie to make up the numbers, we want to progress and we believe we can.”
Forres are without suspended duo Ross Macpherson and Craig Dorrat, Gordon McNab is also out with a foot problem and Graham Fraser is a doubt.
Locos and Clach at full strength but others have players missing
Elsewhere, Inverurie Locos manager Richard Hastings has a full squad available for their tie with Jeanfield Swifts at Harlaw Park.
Huntly meet another East of Scotland League Premier Division side in Hill of Beath Hawthorn at Christie Park with Alex Thoirs available again after returning from offshore.
However, the Black and Golds are still without Glenn Murison, Angus Grant, Stuart Taylor, Liam MacDonald, Bradley Manson, Colin Charlesworth, Gavin Elphinstone and Cameron Booth.
Brora travel to Edinburgh to face Tynecastle with Martin Maclean and James Wallace both doubts for the tie.
Clach are at full strength for their clash with Dunipace at Grant Street Park.
Wick have home advantage against Bo’ness United with Gordon MacNab, Jack Henry, Mark Macadie, Brandon Sinclair, Liam Bain and manager Gary Manson available for selection.
Joe Anderson and Sean Campbell are still missing for the Scorries.
Liam Archibald will be given a fitness test ahead of Lossiemouth’s tie with Preston Athletic at Grant Park. Andy Milton is out for the Coasters, but Ryan Sewell and Connor Macaulay are set to return.
Sights set on second round
Fraserburgh will hope their home tie against Sauchie Juniors can be the start of another good run in the cup.
Deveronvale welcome Haddington Athletic to Princess Royal Park as they set their sights on round two.
Rothes are on the road with Blackburn United of the East of Scotland League Premier Division their opposition at New Murrayfield Park.
Keith hope to get the better of West of Scotland League Premier Division outfit Darvel at Kynoch Park.
Formartine United meet another West of Scotland Premier Division team when Cumnock Juniors visit North Lodge Park.
Brechin City tackle Lowland League strugglers Vale of Leithen at Glebe Park and Golspie Sutherland fly the flag for the North Caledonian League when they face Civil Service Strollers at King George V Park.