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Halkirk United will need to be at their best against Orkney, says McElroy

By Alan Hendry

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Halkirk United striker Jonah Martens performs a bicycle kick, but his effort skewed wide. Picture: James Gunn
Halkirk United striker Jonah Martens performs a bicycle kick, but his effort skewed wide. Picture: James Gunn

Manager Ewan McElroy says Halkirk United will have to be at their best if they want to take anything from Saturday's home match against Orkney in the North Caledonian League.

The Anglers will go into the game full of belief after ending Invergordon's winning run in a goalless draw at Morrison Park last weekend.

The clash with Orkney is the only Division One fixture as most clubs are involved in cup ties. It means Halkirk United will jump up to second place if they emerge with all three points.

However, McElroy warned that they have good reason to be wary of the threat posed by the islanders.

"Orkney are always a strong outfit and we were on the wrong end of some heavy defeats last year," he said. "We know we need to be at our best again if we are to take anything from the game."

McElroy was delighted with the defensive qualities his team showed against Invergordon. The Easter Ross side had won all four of their Division One fixtures up to that point, including a 3-2 win over Halkirk at the end of October.

"It was a really determined performance from the boys on Saturday and we were unlucky not to win the game in the end," he said. "There was a sense of frustration that we didn't take anything in our 3-2 defeat last time round and the whole squad were brilliant from the off.

"Defensively we were excellent. It was another reshuffle at the back with Ian Ross, Jordan Howden and James Mackintosh playing as a back three. I thought it was a really assured performance from the trio."

Injuries have forced McElroy to make a number of changes this term. "Injuries continue to play a part but it’s no doubt the same for most squads," he said.

"We lost another two boys at centre midfield, Mark Webster and Chrissy Green, on Saturday – hopefully neither is too serious. For me, it was one of their strongest performances of the season and both are going from strength to strength."

Meanwhile, Halkirk United have welcomed Liam Anderson who had been Wick Academy’s under-17 coach. "I am delighted to have Liam on board," McElroy said. "He is an enthusiastic and motivated coach and has settled in quickly with our group both on and off the pitch."

Saturday's fixtures: North Caledonian League – Division One: Halkirk United v Orkney. Division Two – Bonar Bridge v Scourie.

North Caledonian Cup, first round: Golspie Sutherland v Nairn County “A”; Invergordon v Inverness Athletic; Loch Ness v St Duthus; Thurso v Alness United.

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