THE curtain comes down on the 2016/17 Highland League season and it is an away visit to Rothes for Nairn County with Ronnie Sharp looking for his side to end their season on a high.
Both clubs still have something to play for this season having won through to the quarter finals of the North of Scotland Cup, so the two sets of players should be eager to cement their places in the starting line-up ahead of those last eight ties next weekend with a positive showing in this one.
Nairn were left disappointed not to take anything from their trip to Inverurie Locos last weekend having fallen behind early on and despite enjoying the lionís share of possession from then on, a failure to seriously test the home goalkeeper meant that ultimately, the visitors made the trip home empty-handed.
As for Rothes, they will come into the match high on confidence having knocked holders Wick Academy out of the North of Scotland Cup in midweek. Manager Steven Macdonald has started to put his own stamp on his side with a number of impressive acquisitions and his team is now starting to gel with a number of impressive away results lately Ė a comfortable win at Fort William and draws at Wick and Forres. A home win would be the ideal way for the Speysiders to round of the season ahead of forecast major recruitment drive in the summer.
There will be full live coverage of this match through the official Nairn County social media feeds Ė facebook.com/nairncountyfc and @NairnCounty on Twitter. Log on to either of these pages to receive team lines before kick-off, updates as the match progresses, a report on the final whistle and reaction from the County camp later in the evening. In the meantime, a preview of the match is below:
Date: Saturday April 22nd 2017
Competition: Scottish Highland Football League
Manager: Steven Macdonald
Venue: MacKessack Park, Rothes
Previous meeting: Nairn County 3 Rothes 0 October 8th 2016
Last time out: Rothes 2 Wick Academy 0; Inverurie Locos 1 Nairn County 0
League position: Rothes 16th Nairn County 14th
Form guides: Rothes WDDLLW Nairn County WDLWWL
Team news: Gregg Mainís season looks to be over after he limped off with a knee injury last weekend at Inverurie. The midfielder still has swelling and is due to receive treatment this week to work towards being ready to start pre-season training in June. Jamie Mackay is also out for the rest of the campaign with a similar injury and Calum Riddell and Paul Macleod are both also ruled out of this trip to Speyside. With Dylan Maclean away for the weekend, Ryan Macleod will step in between the posts while Fraser Wilkie has been called up from the under-20s squad along with 17-year-old winger, Sam Gordon. Despite Matty Macleod having been recalled from his loan at Nairn St Ninian, the paperwork was not completed until after the March 31st deadline, which renders the young attacker ineligible. Although Buckie Thistle and Formartine United escaped censure for including players recalled from loans after the deadline in their squads over recent weeks, the club will adhere to the rules and Macleod will not be involved.
One to watch: Gordon McNab. The Nairn-based attacking midfield player has found a new lease of life at the fulcrum of the new-look Rothes attack and is thriving on being handed the captainís armband on Speyside. The former Clachnacuddin and Forres Mechanics midfielder brings title-winning experience from his time at Mosset Park to what is a developing Rothes side with rapid progress anticipated following a forthcoming significant summer overhaul. McNab spent time with Nairn St Ninian and Inverness City in the junior leagues and after an ill-fated spell at struggling Huntly, he now has slipped seamlessly back into the Highland League and netted the opening goal in his sideís superb 2-0 win over Wick Academy in the North of Scotland Cup on Wednesday night.
Match officials: Referee Dan MacFarlane, Assistants David Milligan and Lee Robertson.
Weather forecast: Light rain showers 7 degrees 9 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).