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Highland League: EVERY game previewed as Josh Peters backs Buckie Thistle to handle busy schedule and Kieran Adams makes Formartine United return

We look ahead to Wednesday's Breedon Highland League action.

Buckie Thistle's Josh Peters, left, battles with Kieran Adams of Formartine United.
Buckie Thistle's Josh Peters, left, battles with Kieran Adams of Formartine United.

Josh Peters says the incentive of having their title destiny in their own hands can help Buckie Thistle overcome a gruelling schedule.

The Jags face Formartine United at Victoria Park tomorrow night in another crucial Breedon Highland League encounter.

This is the seventh midweek in succession that Buckie have been in league or cup action and they also have fixtures scheduled for the next two Wednesdays.

Thistle are fourth in the table, 10 points behind leaders Brechin City, with three games in hand.

With the Moray outfit also tackling the Hedgemen next week they know if they can win their remaining 10 matches they will be champions.

Jags need to find a way

Striker Peters – who netted in stoppage time on Saturday to salvage a point against Inverurie Locos – says that is driving Buckie on.

The 27-year-old said “It has been a tough schedule, but we’re capable of handling it.

“I don’t think fitness is an issue. It’s a great incentive and motivation knowing that if we win our games we win the league.

“How last season panned out (missing out on winning the league on the last day) is motivation as well.

Josh Peters in action for Buckie.

“Some of the results we’ve pulled off recently have been brilliant and some of them have been poor. We just need to try to find some consistency.

“It is hard but we’ve got a good squad of players and we need to keep going. There’s no point in moaning about previous results, it’s about reacting to them and generally when we’ve dropped points we’ve reacted well.

“Every game is a must-win now and we need to find a way. We know it will be a tough game because Formartine are one of the top teams up at the top end of the table.

“We want to keep ourselves in the mix and hopefully we can grind out three points.”

United stopper please to be back

Meanwhile, Kieran Adams is delighted to be able to contribute to the Formartine cause again after more than four months on the sidelines.

The defender made his first start since October in the weekend victory against Brora Rangers.

A pelvic issue had kept Adams out but after seeing a specialist the 32-year-old has recovered in recent weeks.

Adams said: “I’ve had this issue which was suspected to be osteitis pubis, but it wasn’t thought to be too bad.

“For a while I was playing through it, but over a six-week period it was getting worse and worse.

Kieran Adams.

“The nail in the coffin was when we played Banks o’ Dee in the Aberdeenshire Shield (on October 18).

“We got a man sent off that night, but it was like playing with nine men because I was useless really.

“After that I said to the manager I’d step out of the team for a while. I went for some MRI scans and they came back relatively clear.

“Since then I’ve been to see a specialist who just focuses on isolated stretching. I’ve been following a rehab programme since then which has worked wonders.

“Three months ago I was thinking I wouldn’t get over this because I was struggling to get up in the morning.

“But over the last month or so the rehab programme has made a big difference. It’s been a surprise to me to be getting through training sessions and not being sore the next day.

“I’m just delighted to be able to try to do a job for the team again.”

Looking ahead to facing his former club Buckie, Adams added: “It will be a tough game. But if we show the energy and organisation we did on Saturday it will give us a good chance.”

Keith look to keep run going in derby clash

Keith hold the longest unbeaten run in the Breedon Highland League and manager Craig Ewen admits he hasn’t been surprised by their fine form.

The Maroons face local rivals Huntly at Christie Park tomorrow night having not tasted defeat in their last seven league outings stretching back to February 3.

Keith’s recent run has lifted them to 12th in the table and Ewen hopes to keep it going.

He said: “I’m not massively surprised we’ve hit a bit of form because we weren’t playing badly and we were losing out narrowly earlier in the season.

“We lost seven games by a single goal in the first half of the season.

Keith boss Craig Ewen.

“Some of those games could have been wins for us, but they weren’t. With our form recently some teams might argue they were better than us on the day, but we’ve managed to get the results.

“It gives us a bit of confidence. As a club and players individually we’ve got their own pride to play for and we’re looking to get as many points as we can.

“You want to be as good as you can be, with our games left we’ll try to get as many points as we can.”

Hunter aiming for milestones

Meanwhile, Andy Hunter ranks this campaign among his best individually and is pleased it’s been one of the best in Huntly’s recent history.

The striker has bagged 23 goals for the Black and Golds, who are in sixth spot, one point away from reaching 50 points for the first time since season 2009-10.

Hunter, 30, said: “It’s been a good season for myself overall, it’s up there among my best seasons.

“My best season in terms of goals was 26 I think, so there’s a chance for me to potentially beat that.

“For the team at the start of the season the goal was to beat last season’s total and see where that takes us.

Huntly’s Andy Hunter.

“If we could get past 50 points that would be a really good achievement, and we’ll see how close we get to fifth or sixth place.

“It seems like there will be a good battle with ourselves, Nairn and Turriff for seventh and we’d like to be top of that pile.”

Hunter is out of contract at the end of the season and is likely to attract interest from elsewhere, but says no decision has been made on his future.

He added: “I never like rushing into decisions, I just concentrate on what I’m doing every season and depending on how my body feels or what my motivations are I’ll decide what I want to do.”

Clach receive Robesten boost

Clachnacuddin boss Conor Gethins wants new recruit George Robesten to lighten their attacking load in the closing weeks of the season.

The Lilywhites – who face Brora Rangers at Dudgeon Park tomorrow evening – have signed the 18-year-old Staggies winger for the remainder of the campaign.

Robesten was at Nairn County earlier this term, but that loan was cut short last month following a hamstring injury suffered in January.

However, Robesten has recovered from that and joined Clach.

Manager Gethins said: “George will bring pace and a threat to our team. We’ve got pace in our frontline, but at times we’ve relied too heavily on Lewis Mackenzie, Troy Cooper and Connor Bunce to produce moments of magic.

“George coming in will take the load off those players a bit.

“It’s a huge boost for us to have him for the rest of the season.

“I played with George in the early part of the season at Nairn. When he’s out wide he puts crosses in the box and we maybe don’t do that often enough.

“There’s no winding down for us in the closing weeks of the season, we’ll go to the last game of the season.

“Boys need to have a winning mentality, if we slacken off in the closing part of the season boys will have a defeatist mentality which we don’t want.”

News from around the Highland League

Brora will be looking to bounce back following Saturday’s 4-1 defeat to Formartine United, but the Cattachs are again likely to missing Colin Williamson, Max Ewan and Lewis Hyde.

Elsewhere, Forres Mechanics host Fraserburgh at Mosset Park. The Can-Cans are without goalkeeper Lee Herbert and captain Lee Fraser.

The Broch could move up to second in the table with a victory, but have Ross Aitken, Ryan Cowie, Josh Bolton and Zane Laird out due to injury.

Watch: Highland League Weekly – Highlights of Buckie Thistle v Inverurie Locos and Brora Rangers v Formartine United