Newtonmore midfield powerhouse Michael Russell will miss tomorrow’s Mowi Senior League tussle with Strathglass at The Eilean and faces an urgent fitness fight to be ready for key upcoming clashes with great rivals Kingussie.
Russell, who can also play up front, missed their opening league win at Beauly last weekend and is plagued by a hip injury.
Manager Orston Gardner said: “The problem is causing issues elsewhere in his body.
“Michael’s a key man for us and we’re desperate to get him back, particularly as we could have a hat trick of clashes with Kingussie in the space of five weeks.
“With him not being fit to train, how does he get ready for these big games? It’s a worry.”
The Badenoch neighbours meet at The Dell on Saturday week on league business and on July 17 at The Eilean in the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup and in between, if they win their first round ties, they will meet in the Macaulay Cup second round.
Midfielder Craig Ritchie, who has a knee injury, is still unfit to face Strathglass and could be in a similar situation to Russell.
“Jamie Robinson has a tight hamstring but should be OK”, said Gardner.”Evan Menzies is still not training but I’m pleased with the younger lads pushing for their opportunity.
“Declan Brannan, who is 18, is looking good at wing centre while Darren Fowler and Stuart Mitchell, both under 21, are defensive additions.”
Penri Jones, who has rattled in five goals in two games, carries a threat for the Cannich side.
Matheson encouraged by display
Caberfeidh, who top League B on goal difference, helped by Craig Morrison’s foursome last weekend, face Kingussie at Strathpeffer with the Premiership champions chasing a second successive victory.
Lovat host Beauly in a local derby and Kiltarlity co-manager Jamie Matheson said:”With a bit of luck we could have won at Kingussie, but the performance was encouraging, particularly from Craig Mainland and Scott Mackenzie at the back. Now we’re looking to build on that.”
Mark MacDonald, Kinlochshiel’s international wing back, faces a lay-off after breaking his toe in a pre-season friendly. He is out of their home League A game with Glen Urquhart.
Manager Johnston Gill said: “Mark is a top player for us whose hitting is second to none, so we’ll be content to let him recover in the hope that he’ll be ready in time for the cup ties.
“Keith MacRae is likely to miss Saturday’s game with a groin strain.”
The other two League A fixtures – Lochaber v Skye and Kilmallie v Fort William – are off due to the Covid-19 outbreak in the Lochaber area.
Oban Camanachd, who drew a blank at Glasgow Mid Argyll last weekend, bid to break their duck against Aberdour at Mossfield Park.
League leaders Inveraray, with Fraser Watt and Lewis MacNicol a double menace up front, play host to Oban Celtic. Ex-Newtonmore hitman Ewen Fraser, unavailable last weekend, returns for Glasgow Mid Argyll’s visit to Kyles Athletic.