Turriff United manager Ross Jack has his side geared up for a huge test of its Highland League title credentials against Formartine United at the Haughs today.
Turriff are joint league leaders alongside Wick Academy after a 12-game unbeaten run but despite taking 34 points from a possible 36 Jack believes his players have still to prove themselves.
He said: “Playing Formartine will help us gauge how far we’ve come. We’re on a good run but no one at the club is getting carried away and it’s still early days in the season. Formartine have been challengers in recent seasons and if we can get a good result it will give us more confidence but we will need to play well to get a result.”
Formartine are missing Mark Smith and Craig Duguid for the trip to the Haughs, however Sam French returns to the bench after six weeks out with a hamstring injury.
Life after Martin Laing begins today for Clach after the former Caley Thistle midfielder’s move to Inverurie Locos earlier this week.
The Lilywhites make the trip to Strathspey Thistle and manager Iain Polworth wants Fraser Robertson, Alan McPhee and Matt Grant to show they can fill the void by Laing’s departure.
Polworth, who has sent Scott Maclean, Ryan Macdonald and Scott Davidson on loan to Fort William for six weeks, said: “The guys we’ve sent to Fort William will hopefully get some game time and come back ready and raring to go. We don’t need to go out and get players and it will be up to the guys within the squad to hit the ground running.”
The Jags remain without forward Adam Macleod, while Kevin McGee, Jack Maley, Martin Groat and Thomas Borthwick are also sidelined.
Lossiemouth will hand a debut to new signing Bryan Bell at Nairn County today after receiving international clearance for the central defender, who has been in Australia.
Bell left Lossie for Shepperton South in Australia and scored in one of his first games for the club only to break his leg the following week.
He joins Grant Mitchell, Chris Ross and Cameron Farquhar in returning to the squad, however the Coasters have a handful of absentees, with Scott Dunn, Ryan Farquhar and Mark Hector unavailable.
Nairn pair Stuart Leslie and Steven Ellis miss out for the visit of Charlie Charlesworth’s side.
Meanwhile, Buckie Thistle are without Darren Wood, Jay Cheyne, Chris Hegarty and Neil Davidson, while Shaun Wood is doubtful ahead of the Jags’ trip to Huntly, for whom David Christie is expected to miss out.
Champions Brora Rangers, the sole remaining Highland League representative in the Scottish Cup, return to league duty when they host Rothes.
Brora, undefeated in the league after 14 matches, are without the suspended Stuart Kettlewell, while Ross Tokely, Adam Porritt and Danny Mackay are also absent. Rothes are without Stuart Thomson and Craig Lambie but Andrew Corbett and Kenny Mair return.