Academy will have nothing to fear in first league clash with Brechin City, says manager Gary Manson
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Manager Gary Manson insists Wick Academy will have nothing to fear when they host Brechin City this weekend.
The Angus club entered the Highland League after dropping down from the Scottish Professional Football League at the end of last season and are targeting a quick return under manager Andy Kirk.
However, they have not had it all their own way and are sitting in fifth spot, albeit with games in hand over all the teams above them.
Manson said: “Obviously we haven't seen them up close and personal yet, but going by where they are in the league table and some of their results so far they'll be a tough test, there is no doubt about that.
“We've played Fraserburgh, we've played Brora, we've played Rothes – they're all teams up at the top, and while we've not won any of those games we've acquitted ourselves really well. There is certainly nothing to fear.
“We're fully expecting a very tough game. They will have some top players, so it should be an entertaining game and one for the fans to enjoy."
For many Wick supporters, the league fixtures against Brechin will revive memories of the two Scottish Cup third-round ties between the teams in November and December 2009. After a dramatic 4-4 draw at Harmsworth Park in front of 1217 fans, Brechin – then in Scotland’s third tier and managed by Jim Duffy – got through 4-2 in a delayed replay.
“I'm sure their fans will look at it as a day out, somewhere their fans have never been unless they were at the cup game," Manson said. "There is probably a new generation of fans who have never been up to Wick before.
“I would be very surprised if any of their players have played in Wick, apart from Garry Wood who they signed from Formartine – he has been in the Highland League a long time."
The Glebe Park club won 1-0 at home to Huntly last weekend, while Academy twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw at Nairn. It was the Scorries' seventh score draw in their opening 12 league games.
Steven Anderson and Gordon MacNab were on target for Wick, cancelling out Ciaran Young's double for the home side.
“We scored two really good goals," Manson said. “It was just a shame we couldn't get the full three points out of it.”
Anderson has begun finding the net consistently following his return to the club from Rothes.
“He's in really good form," the manager said. "While he took a little bit of time to get up to speed at the start of the season, he is fully up to speed now and he is looking like he is going to score in every game.”
Manson isn't ruling out moves to strengthen the squad. Two of Academy's most experienced players, Richard Macadie and Alan Farquhar, are sidelined by long-term injuries and Sean Campbell damaged a hamstring in the home defeat to Brora.
“It's something we are always looking at – we're always discussing players that might be able to help the squad," Manson said. "If there are players out there then we'll certainly go for them.
“We've had a couple training with us already this season so it's always something we are looking at.
“We'll need to wait and see how long Sean Campbell is out for but it might be something we will need to look at, to get reinforcements in."
Brora Rangers stepped up their title challenge on Wednesday night with a 3-0 home win against Rothes. Gregor Macdonald, Ali Sutherland and Max Ewan got the goals.
Buckie Thistle thrashed Fort William 9-1, while Formartine United were 3-0 winners away to Strathspey Thistle in the other midweek match.
Highland League fixtures for Saturday: Clachnacuddin v Brora Rangers; Formartine United v Turriff United; Fort William v Lossiemouth; Fraserburgh v Keith; Huntly v Buckie Thistle; Inverurie Locos v Forres Mechanics; Rothes v Deveronvale; Strathspey Thistle v Nairn County; Wick Academy v Brechin City.