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Fort William already focusing on relegation play-off ahead of Rothes clash

Fort William manager Shadab Iftikhar described their game against Rothes as a "hindrance".
Fort William manager Shadab Iftikhar described their game against Rothes as a "hindrance".

Fort William manager Shadab Iftikhar says his focus is already on their relegation play-off against Banks o’ Dee.

The Lochaber side play their final Breedon Highland League game of the season against Rothes at Mackessack Park tonight.

After that Fort take on North Junior champions Banks o’ Dee in the two-legged relegation play-off as they bid to stay in the Highland League.

In recent weeks the Claggan Park outfit have built up some momentum and confidence having turned in some improved performances which have included drawing at Turriff United and beating Strathspey Thistle.

However, this game is Fort William’s fifth in 11 days and given that they are already confirmed as finishing bottom of the division Iftikhar says their gameplan will be formulated with the weekend in mind.

He said: “It’s always difficult when you’re playing your fifth game in 11 days.

“For us we’re focusing on Banks o’ Dee on Saturday, but we have to get through this game.

“This means nothing in terms of the table and really it’s more of a hindrance when we would have liked a full week to prepare for Banks o’ Dee and also to recover after playing four games in eight days.

Rothes manager Ross Jack is hoping his side can finish fifth in the Highland League.

“We’ve built up some momentum in recent weeks and I think it’s important to look at the character of the players and what they’ve done in the last five or six games.

“We were unlucky on Saturday and didn’t deserve to get beat, but we showed great character.

“Against Rothes we’re going to have to play in a way which saves legs. We want to have a lot of energy for the Banks o’ Dee game.

“We want to press high and try to take the game to Banks o’ Dee which means we’re going to have to play in a way to save energy against Rothes.”

Speysiders eye fifth

Rothes will finish fifth if they can win against Fort William and in their final game of the campaign against Keith on Saturday.

Speysiders boss Ross Jack added: “We’ve got a good honest bunch of players and at the start of the season we had ambitions to finish higher than fifth.

“But that’s what we’ve got to play for now and we’ll go hammer and tongs to try to make sure we finish there.

“It will take a huge effort against Fort William and Keith to get the wins we need.

“We’ve got confidence but we also know it won’t be easy.”

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