Brora Rangers player-manager Ally MacDonald believes today’s clash with Deveronvale is an opportunity for some of his squad to stake their claim for more action.
The Cattachs visit Princess Royal Park in the Breedon Highland (2pm kick-off) and MacDonald will be forced into changes.
Striker Jordan MacRae is injured and goalkeeper Logan Ross has been recalled by parent club Ross County following an injury to Ross Laidlaw.
Although MacDonald is hopeful Ross may return, he has recalled Danny Gillan from a loan at Clachnacuddin and is keen for the players that come into Brora’s side this afternoon grasp their chance.
He said: “We’ll be forced into a couple of changes and for guys coming in it’s a chance to try to command a spot in the team.
“Jordan is out and Kyle MacLeod has had to be patient waiting for a chance.
“He’s accepted that Jordan’s been in good form, but Kyle’s got a chance to come in and make an impression and he’s desperate to do that.
“With Logan going back to Ross County, we’ve recalled Danny from his loan at Clach.
“When Danny’s had chances he’s done well and looked very comfortable.
“He’s progressing well and this could be another good opportunity for him.”
Vale aim to tighten up
Meanwhile, Deveronvale are aiming to bounce back after losing 5-1 last weekend against Huntly.
Having kept three clean sheets in four outings prior to the defeat at Christie Park, Banffers defender Innes McKay wants them to get back to being miserly.
The 23-year-old said: “We know it will be a tough 90 minutes. There are sort of two stories with ourselves just now, we had three clean sheets in four games, but shipped five last Saturday at Huntly.
“If things click I think we are a good team and if we get it right defensively then we can be solid.
“We’ve been working on the set-up and everyone knowing where they need to be within the shape, hopefully it pays off.
“The bad results are frustrating, but we pick ourselves up and go again.
“With a team of Brora’s quality we need to be solid, keep them out and keep ourselves in the game.
“We know we’ll have to defend well, but we do feel we’ve got players who can hurt them at the other end.”
Team news from around the Highland League
Elsewhere, Clachnacuddin face Huntly in a 2pm kick-off at Grant Street Park. James Anderson, Martin MacKinnon and Zach Macphee are out for the Lilywhites, while the Black and Golds are missing Cameron Heslop, Brodie Allen, Alex Thoirs and Joe Gauld.
Garry Wood and Ally Stark face fitness tests ahead of Banks o’ Dee’s clash with Keith at Spain Park. The Maroons welcome back Murray Addison and Gavin Elphinstone, Liam Duncan is a doubt and Joey Wilson is out.
Brechin City have bolstered their squad ahead of Lossiemouth’s visit to Glebe Park with the loan signing of striker Matthew Wright from Ross County.
The 21-year-old who has previously had stints at Brora, Montrose, Falkirk and Elgin City – as well as scoring for the Staggies first-team – joins the Hedgemen for the rest of the season.
✍🏼 𝙒𝙍𝙄𝙂𝙃𝙏 𝙎𝙄𝙂𝙉𝙎 𝙊𝙉 𝙇𝙊𝘼𝙉
The Club is delighted to announce the signing of striker Matthew Wright on loan from Premiership side @RossCounty until the end of the season.
— Brechin City FC (@BrechinCityFC) February 2, 2024
Dylan Lawrence, Aidan Cruickshank, Fraser Forbes, Ryan Stuart, Ryan Farquhar, Ross Elliott and Baylee Campbell are absent for the Coasters.
Willie West, Jamie Beagrie and Lewis Davidson return for Fraserburgh’s Bellslea encounter with Forres Mechanics, who travel without Andrew Skinner.
Rothes are missing Alan Pollock and Allen Mackenzie and Greg Morrison is a doubt for their meeting with Inverurie Locos at Mackessack Park. Greg Mitchell and Mark Souter are still sidelined for the Railwaymen.
Graeme Williamson, Alan Farquhar and Richard Macadie are back in contention for Wick Academy’s game against Strathspey Thistle at Harmsworth Park.
However, Brandon Sinclair and Owen Rendall are missing. The Jags are minus John McLeod, while Taylor Sutherland and Owen Loveland are doubts.
But Michael McKenzie, Daniel Whitehorn and Ewan Neil return.
Turriff try to back up midweek triumph as Formartine visit
Murray Cormack wants Turriff United to prove their win against Fraserburgh was no flash in the pan when Formartine United visit the Haughs today.
Cormack netted a double – the second of which was in stoppage time – on Wednesday night as Turra defeated the Broch, who are fourth in the Breedon Highland League, 3-2.
Now as they face third-placed Formartine the wing-back hopes Turriff show they can back up their impressive display against another of the Breedon Highland League’s top sides.
Cormack, 19, said: “I think we showed what we can do against Fraserburgh.
“The manager has been saying since he’s come in that we’ve had good spells against the top teams without getting anything.
“He said to us on Wednesday it was time to change that and thankfully we managed to do it.
“We beat Formartine (4-2) early in the season so hopefully we can do it again at home.
“But the test for us is to try to do it again, people might say Wednesday was a one-off so playing another team in the top five we want to show we can do it again.”
Formartine have been on a fine run in recent weeks taking 13 points from their last five games and boss Stuart Anderson is keen to continue in a similar vein.
However, he is wary of their opposition and added: “Turriff are a really good side.
“They’re probably the most improved team in the league and their results show they’re as good as anyone.
“We’ve done OK in recent games, but we just keep going from week to week and we don’t get ahead of ourselves.
“Some individuals have been in really good form just now and hopefully they can keep it going.”
Benefits of Nairn loan clear for Barron
Ben Barron wants his loan spell at Nairn County to benefit both him and the club.
The striker – who is likely to lead the line when Buckie Thistle visit Station Park this afternoon – will be with the Wee County on-loan from Elgin City for the rest of the season.
Barron netted a hat-trick for Nairn in Wednesday’s 5-1 win against Lossiemouth.
The 19-year-old hopes to add to that tally to show he can cut it with Elgin in League Two next term. He is also keen to assist his loan club, who are sixth in the table, with their bid for a top five finish.
Barron said: “Game time is all I am looking for. I’m looking to get my confidence back in front of goal, which I did on Wednesday.
“I’m looking to sharpen up my fitness, build up game-time, and score goals, which is what I love doing.
“It’s all about returning to Elgin with confidence and more experience. Hopefully I can add to the team next season.
“I’ve been impressed with everything at Nairn so far, the club has been top notch.
“You can see this club is really pushing forward and showing their quality this season. It’s all about making progress and aiming for the top five.”
Jags back on league duty
For Buckie this will be their first Breedon Highland League outing in three weeks.
With only 14 games played Jags boss Graeme Stewart is keen to put points on the board as they aim to challenge for the title.
He added: “Nairn have got a really good team. We’ve had hard games against them, so we know it is going to be tough.
“We want to win the league, the guys have been consistent and if we can keep that up, we will push it as hard as we can.”