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Gunn backs Martens to gets top marks at Academy

By Matt Leslie

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Lybster skipper Bobby Gunn has backed striker Jonah Martens to make it at Wick Academy.

Martens has been in deadly form at county level this summer and is leading the goalscoring charts, having smashed in 20 goals.

Not surprisingly, the marksman – who has in the past turned out for North Caledonian League side Halkirk – has caught the eye of Scorries boss Tom McKenna.

Martens is on trial at Academy and did his prospects of getting a permanent deal no harm with a well-taken goal in Wick's 3-2 win against an Inverness Caledonian Thistle XI on Wednesday.

Jonah Martens playing for Wick Academy in the midweek friendly against a Caley Thistle XI. Picture: Mel Roger
Jonah Martens playing for Wick Academy in the midweek friendly against a Caley Thistle XI. Picture: Mel Roger

He was in hot form the night before when his hat-trick helped Lybster into the next round of the David Allan Shield following a 6-2 victory over CAFA Division Two side Halkirk. Also on target were Gary Weir (2) and Cameron Mackenzie.

Paul Mackay and Owen Lockhart replied for the visitors.

It was another profitable night for Martens and Lybster, with Gunn reckoning that his team-mate has what it takes to step up to the next level.

He said: "I don't see any reason why he couldn't step up to the Highland League.

"Academy are having a look at him and if they do decide to sign Jonah, I can see him scoring goals at that level too.

"He missed most of last season – which is one reason why we struggled a bit back then – but he came back fully fit and he's been knocking them in.

"Lybster of course has provided a striker to Wick Academy in the past. Steven Anderson was one of ours and he went on to enjoy a good spell there before moving to Rothes.

"Jonah and Ando are very similar players so if he impresses and gets a contract, he can be just as successful."

Lybster have made a huge improvement on last year when they stayed in Division One by the skin of their teeth after beating Division Two side Wick Thistle in a relegation/promotion play-off.

Martens' enforced absence was one factor, as was the trip to Spain to celebrate the historic connection between themselves and Recreativo de Huelva.

I don't see any reason why he couldn't step up to the Highland League

However, Gunn throws another, and more significant, factor into play – strength in depth and the lack of it.

He added: "The difference between this year and last is that we beefed up our squad numbers.

"Last season we were just getting 11 bodies out there but now we've got a decent-sized squad and we're doing much better because of it."

Also with a young talent on trial at Wick Academy is Kuba Koziol of Thurso Acks.

The young Polish attacker was on target as Acks won their David Allan Shield tie 3-2 at John O'Groats with Sean Munro and Charlie Fraser also netting. John O'Groats' goals came via Mark Webster and Jimmy Budge.

Manager Murray Coghill said: "Kuba came to Scotland when he was 11 and I was involved in the youth football set-up. His uncle brought him along and you could see right away that he had talent.

"Academy are having him over for a trial and I've every confidence that if they sign him up, he will do very well in the Highland League.

"It's always good to see County League players get a chance, but that's what we're here for – to help young players make it to the next level.

"Of our game at John O'Groats itself, we were cruising at half-time and should have been more than 2-0 up. Our concentration levels dropped and suddenly it's 2-2. Thankfully, we showed enough character to get the winner deep into injury time."

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