Cove don't like playing against us, says Wick Academy manager
WICK Academy will put their recent unbeaten Highland League run on the line on Saturday when they travel to face leaders Cove Rangers.
It’s a quick return to Balmoral Stadium for the Scorries following their Highland League Cup semi-final defeat two weekends ago. The odds appear to be stacked against them, given that they will have a depleted squad against a Cove side that has been in imperious form at home all season.
However, Academy go into the match unbeaten in their last eight league fixtures, a run of six wins and two draws. And manager Tom McKenna believes Cove won’t be relishing the prospect of taking on his team again – especially if Academy can continue where they left off in the second half of that 3-1 semi-final loss.
“We imposed ourselves better in the second half than we did in the first, so we’ll go down there will the same thought process,” McKenna said.
“It’s a big ask, in all honesty. Cove are a very good footballing team and they don’t give much away at home, so it’s one of those times we have to really be at our best and hopefully things go right for us on the day.”
The manager admits he is concerned by the number of players who will be missing.
Academy will be without Andy Hardwick and Alan Hughes, while Grant Steven and Jack Halliday remain sidelined by injury. Danny Mackay is still struggling and there could be doubts over a couple of others.
“It might be a matter of trying to bring trialists in or utilise the youth players we’ve got,” McKenna said.
“In terms of personnel it’s not looking good and I think it’s going to be like that for the next couple of weeks.”
McKenna and his coaching staff have succeeded in building up a larger squad this season, so player shortages haven’t been as big a factor as in previous campaigns.
“When I first came in I was scouring the county for players, really struggling, and going down to Rothes and places like that with under-17 players in the squad,” he said. “The numbers this year have been absolutely fantastic and that has really been noticeable in the results.”
And the Scorries can take confidence from their good record against the leading sides.
“I think we must be the one team outside the top five that Cove fear more than anybody else,” McKenna said. “In my time with Wick we’ve probably taken more points off the top five than any team outwith that.
“I know for a fact they don’t like playing against us. We’re renowned for the fantastic footballing individuals we’ve got in the team. It’s just the personnel that is concerning me.
“If you’ve got a full squad you can go down there with a lot of hope and optimism. I’ve got a lot of faith in the players and the team but at the moment I just need to see what I’ve got.
“We’re on a good wee run, we’re in seventh place and everything is going well at the moment. Through maybe a few individuals being not available it just makes things a bit more difficult.
“We want to push on now to see us through to the end of the season and finish off on a high. I just hope the boys keep it going, give it one more push and don’t let it fizzle out after all the good work they’ve put in.”