Brora Rangers manager Davie Kirkwood insists his defenders must step up to the mark in the absence of veteran centre half Ross Tokely.
The former Caley Thistle and Ross County centre half left the country at the weekend to pursue a job in Angola and is not scheduled to return until the end of January.
Although Kirkwood feels Tokely will be a big loss, he has urged defenders Scott Houston and James Ross to come of age in the 35-year-old’s absence.
Ahead of today’s game at home to Deveronvale, Kirkwood said: “It’s not just Ross’s presence, it’s his talk, getting on players’ backs and keeping them right. That’s where Scott and young James have to come to the fore and start using their voices.
“There’s nothing wrong with their play or their physique but they’re just not vocal and that needs to come. I’m pretty sure with Grant Munro alongside them, that will come..”
Tokely remains under contract with the Cattachs and Kirkwood insists there will always be a place for the defender at the club.
Kirkwood added: “Ross could be away until the end of January and if he hasn’t trained in 10 weeks it’s going to be difficult.
“He’s not left the club, he’s still got a playing contract. If it does get to the situation where he doesn’t go back, the club’s there and he will always be welcome here.”
Formartine United manager Steve Paterson was last night still trying to find a goalkeeper before his side’s trip to Rothes with Culter’s Shaun Barney, who was transfer listed last week, in the frame for a move to North Lodge Park.
Graeme Stewart and Lewis Mackinnon will take charge of managerless Buckie for the trip to Clach. Former Jags player Alan McPherson, now co-manager at junior side Portgordon Victoria, has been linked with the post.