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Shadab Iftikhar says life on the road has been tough for Fort William

Fort William manager Shadab Iftikhar says they have found it difficult not having any home games
Fort William manager Shadab Iftikhar says they have found it difficult not having any home games

Shadab Iftikhar believes Fort William’s nomadic existence has taken its toll on his players.

The Lochaber outfit – who are already confirmed as the Breedon Highland League’s bottom club – face Strathspey Thistle at Seafield Park.

With Claggan Park not playable in time for the start of the season Fort reached an agreement with the Highland League to play all their games away from home.

However, manager Iftikhar believes the travelling and the fixture backlog they face haven’t helped his charges.

This evening’s game is their third in a run of five matches in 11 days and Iftikhar said: “All the games being away from it doesn’t help.

“The club finds itself in a very strange situation. When you’re playing away from home and travelling for every game it’s always going to be difficult.

“From day one we understood the situation and knew how difficult it would and that has proven to be the case.

“In terms of distance covered we’ll have driven to Yemen and back by the end of the season.

Strathspey Thistle manager Charlie Brown

“The players are committed but should they be doing it?”

Fort William did draw with Turriff United on Monday and Strathspey boss Charlie Brown isn’t taking them lightly.

The Grantown Jags have won three of their last eight games and Brown hopes that form can continue.

He added: “Fort William will have confidence coming into this game after getting a point on Monday and they’re building towards the play-off tie which is vitally important for them.

“We’re looking to finish as high as we can in the league with as many points as we can.

“The form has been good and we knew we could pick points up and score goals as long as we stopped conceding silly goals.

“We’ve managed to do that and once you gain points the boys grow in confidence and we’ve seen that over the weeks.”

Team news from around the Highland League

Elsewhere, Huntly are missing Alex Thoirs, Michael Clark, Chris Hay, Colin Charlesworth, Lyall Booth, Robbie Foster, Gavin Elphinstone, Zander Jack, Angus Grant, Bradley Manson and Stuart Taylor for Formartine United’s visit to Christie Park.

Jonny Smith, Kieran Lawrence, Aaron Norris, Cole Anderson, Ross Clark and Murray Addison are unavailable for the Pitmedden side. But Daniel Park has signed a contract extension to remain at North Lodge Park.

Martin Callum returns for Clachnacuddin’s clash against Forres Mechanics at Grant Street Park. Martin Groat and Joe Gauld miss out for the Can-Cans.

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