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Halkirk hoping to cause a cup upset


By Matt Leslie

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The weather may have hampered preparations but Halkirk United manager Ewan McElroy is looking to spring a surprise in the North Caledonian Cup this weekend.

The Anglers entertain high-flying Invergordon who are top of the pile in the North Caledonian League.

United know only too well of Invergordon's firepower, with their two league meetings producing two horror shows.

Their visit to the Recreation Grounds saw the Easter Ross side romp to an 8-0 win. The return fixture at Morrison Park was not quite as bad but it was still a long afternoon for Halkirk as they slumped to a 4-0 loss.

Bobby Gunn delivers a cross during Halkirk United's league defeat to Invergordon at Morrison Park at the end of November. Picture: James Gunn
Bobby Gunn delivers a cross during Halkirk United's league defeat to Invergordon at Morrison Park at the end of November. Picture: James Gunn

However, the cup is a different matter and McElroy believes an upset is possible in Saturday's second-round tie – although a top performance from United, and perhaps a hint of luck, will be required for that to happen.

"The draw for the cup could not be much more difficult," he said. "Invergordon are the best team we have played this season and will clearly be expected to progress.

"We know it is going to be extremely difficult to get anything out of the game. You always prefer a home tie but I don’t actually think it will make any significant difference.

We need to ensure we remain compact and keep our concentration.

"Every game is different and we are still very much at the start of the rebuilding stage with the squad. Our most difficult games have undoubtedly been against Invergordon this year.

"The weather has played havoc with our preparation again as we have been unable to train this week. However, that could well be the case for multiple teams as the weather has been pretty dire across the Highlands.

"I don’t think we will specifically target any of Invergordon's players in particular. They are comfortable across the pitch and previously we have given them too much time in areas where they can hurt us most.

"We gifted them a couple of goals in the last game and we need to ensure we remain compact and keep our concentration. We were excellent against St Duthus for the first 65 minutes and similarly against Bonar for the full 90.

"If we can produce something similar, and get a bit of luck, we could always produce an upset."

McElroy added: "We are really hopeful the game will go ahead. We were not able to train on the pitch this week but I know the whole squad will be desperate to get back playing again.

"Regarding injuries, Stuart Sinclair remains a major doubt and Bobby Gunn has a slight strain.

"However, James Mackintosh will return after his suspension and Kuba Kuziol and Ryan Sutherland will hopefully both be back for Saturday."

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