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Forres Mechanics have grounds for optimism, says legendary defender Graham Fraser

Forres Mechanics defender Graham Fraser, right, in action against Elgin City striker Kane Hester.
Forres Mechanics defender Graham Fraser, right, in action against Elgin City striker Kane Hester.

Defender Graham Fraser is relishing the chance to help Forres Mechanics drive back up the Highland League over the next two seasons.

The defender, who celebrated a fantastic testimonial night against League 2 Elgin City on Friday with his team-mate twin Lee, believes the future is bright at Mosset Park.

The 29-year-old Frasers signed two-year deals at the end of a season in which the Moray club finished 12th in the division.

They began the campaign with the manager who signed them in 2010, Charlie Rowley, stepping down.

Then, after a brief spell with Gordon Connelly in charge, there was further change as the former Forres player-manager resigned due to a change in personal circumstances.

He was replaced in the New Year by Steven MacDonald, who was part of the coaching set-up already in place.

Determined to improve on last year

MacDonald is shaping a capable and settled pool of players and centre half Fraser predicts an improvement.

He said: “We decided to stay at Forres for another two seasons and decide what we want to do after that.

“It’s always difficult coming back for pre-season, but we’ve been back for a few weeks now.

“Once the fitness is back up, it will be really enjoyable and hopefully we’ll have a good season, because last season was poor.

“There were a lot of changes at the club, so all going well we can push on and do as best we can in the league and cups.

“The manager has certainly made us a more solid. If he can bring in more boys, even better.

“We have a run of games coming up which will give us the chance to gel further as a team and really get going.”

Lee and Graham Fraser.

Good home recovery after poor start

On Friday, goals from Darryl McHardy and Kane Hester had Elgin coasting early on, before Brian Cameron missed a spot-kick after 15 minutes.

There was a big improvement from Forres, despite a late third goal from Josh Peters.

Elgin have been scoring goals for fun in pre-season and have not leaked a goal, so Fraser knew it was going to be a challenge.

He said: “We had been looking at Elgin’s results in recent weeks and they’d been doing well, so we knew it was going to be a hard night.

“We were two goals down inside the first 10 minutes and I thought ‘here we go’.

“I was fearing the worst, but we stuck in and, after the penalty miss, we got into the game a lot more.

“We did create enough, but Elgin were good, being a level above us. We competed well until we conceded the third late on, but overall I felt we done alright.

“The pressure was off after the penalty miss and we got the ball down and started playing.”

Thigh knock led to second half exit

Fraser had to come off earlier than planned in the second half after suffering a thigh knock, so it was a case of safety first for the defender.

However, he said they both fully appreciated the fans turning out to recognise the brothers’ efforts over the past 12 years.

He added: “There was a great turnout and it was a great occasion.

“Being here so long, there have been maybe six or seven testimonials and we never really thought we’d get one, so it was great.

“It was just a shame my thigh went in the second half. I was going to try and carry on, but there was no point. I didn’t want to risk making it worse. The best thing for me was to come off.”

Forres continue their preparations for the new Highland League season when they host Caley Thistle under-18s on Wednesday.

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