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Cup final beckons as Wick Academy prepare to take on Cove Rangers


By Gordon Calder


THE chance to get to their first cup final in four years beckons for Wick Academy this weekend when they take on Cove Rangers in the semi-final of the Highland League Cup.

The Academy players and manager Tom McKenna are looking forward to the occasion as are the fans who are likely to be out in force at Allan Park on Saturday afternoon.

The teams and the supporters will be heading south in positive mood after being undefeated in their last six matches but they know it will be a difficult task to beat the current Highland League champions.

Cove are sitting pretty at the top of the table – where they are three points ahead of second-placed Brora Rangers with a game in hand – and are playing at home so will probably start as favourites.

But cup games are well known for causing upsets and that is what McKenna and everyone associated with the club will be hoping for at the weekend.

“It will be the first time since 2015 that we have the opportunity to get to a cup final. It will be a special occasion and everyone is looking forward to it,” he said.

Sam Mackay leaves the Strathspey defenders behind before firing the ball into the top corner for Wick's equaliser - and Mackay's first goal since April 2018 - in last weekend's game.
Sam Mackay leaves the Strathspey defenders behind before firing the ball into the top corner for Wick's equaliser - and Mackay's first goal since April 2018 - in last weekend's game.

“We will not be overawed by it as we have a lot of experience and will approach the game in the right manner. It will be a difficult encounter against a team who have only conceded six goals at home this year but we have done really well against the top teams and will go into the semi-final with confidence and a lot of self belief.

“I am sure the players will give a good account of themselves. We should have a good support going down the road to get behind the players,” said McKenna.

“This is a one-off and a lot will depend on who turns up on the day. We have to respect Cove. They are the champions and league leaders and are playing at home but we have a lot of quality and experienced players in our team. Cove will fear us just as much as we fear them,” he added.

The teams have met once already this season in a league encounter at Harmsworth Park when Cove won 1-0 but Academy played with only 10 players for three-quarters of the game following a sending-off.

Four Wick players are described as “doubtful” for the match – goalkeeper Sean McCarthy, midfielders, Jack Hendry and Jack Halliday along with striker Marc MacGregor.

A final decision on their fitness was to be made after training on Thursday night.

The other semi-final is between Brora Rangers and Formartine Utd and will be played at Dudgeon Park in Sutherland.

Asked if he had any preference about a possible final opponent, McKenna, replied: “We will deal with Saturday first and if we win then we will take who we get in the final.”

* A supporters’ bus is being laid on to take Scorries fans to the match. It leaves from outside the Norseman Hotel in Wick at 7am on Saturday.



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