IT is a return to Highland League action for Nairn County this weekend after a successful foray into the North of Scotland Cup last Saturday as they prepare for the first of an away double-header to end the 2016/17 season.
Opponents Inverurie Locos know that they have secured ninth place in the final table this season and that they can climb no higher with manager Neil Cooper continuing to assess his squad ahead of his forthcoming first full season in charge and the home side will be eager to end the campaign on a high as they play their last fixture of their 2016/17 programme.
Nairn travel with final positions in the table still to play for and although Deveronvale can no longer catch County, Rothes know that if they win their away fixture at Turriff United and Ronnie Sharp’s men fail to take anything from this one then it will setup a winner-takes-all encounter at MacKessack Park next weekend when the two sides meet on the final day.
There will be full live coverage of this match on the official Nairn County social media feeds facebook.com/nairncountyfc and @NairnCounty on Twitter with team lines available before kick-off, updates of all of the major talking points as the match progresses, a report on the final whistle and reaction from the Nairn camp in the evening. A preview of the match is below:
Date: Saturday April 15th 2017
Competition: Scottish Highland Football League
Opponents: Inverurie Locos
Manager: Neil Cooper
Venue: Harlaw Park, Inverurie
Previous meeting: Nairn County 2 Inverurie Locos 3 November 12th 2016
Last time out: Deveronvale 0 Inverurie Locos 3; Strathspey Thistle 0 Nairn County 4
League position: Inverurie Locos 9th Nairn County 14th
Form guides: Inverurie Locos WWWLWW Nairn County LWDLWW
Team news: Jamie Mackay sustained a knee injury in training this week and will miss out on this match and may have to sit out the rest of the season but Gregg Main returns to the squad having served a suspension during last Saturday’s 4-0 away win at Strathspey Thistle in the North of Scotland Cup. Young defender Callum Ednie agreed a two-year contract extension this week but is a doubt with the hamstring injury that forced him off at half time of the under-20s match at Forres on Monday night while Paul Macleod is also unavailable.
One to watch: Dean Donaldson. The veteran attacker has won a number of medals from his long spell at Keith earlier in his career and also spent time at Buckie Thistle and Huntly before joining Inverurie Locos. Capable of playing out wide or through the middle in attack, it was his introduction late in the first half that changed the game when these two sides met at Station Park back in November. County had dominated the opening 35 minutes with only a one-goal lead to show for it but Donaldson came off the bench just before Inverurie found a leveller and struck after the restart to put his side in front. A clever player who will have a say again in the outcome if he is involved in this one.
Match officials: Referee Chris Fordyce, Assistants Bob Inkster and Andrew Bannerman.
Weather forecast: Sunny intervals 8 degrees 18 mph wind.
Admission prices: Adults £8 Concessions £5 (two children under the age of 14 are admitted for free if they are accompanied by a paying adult).