Manson wants to create new memories for Wick fans in rearranged Scottish Cup clash
Get the Courier and Groat sent to your inbox every week and swipe through an exact replica of the day's newspaper
Gary Manson has played in some cracking Scottish Cup ties for Wick Academy over the years – and now, as manager, he hopes to give the club's supporters another day to remember in the delayed tie against Musselburgh Athletic.
The second preliminary round match at Harmsworth Park was originally scheduled for last Saturday but was called off on Friday following a pitch inspection before the East of Scotland League side were due to start travelling north.
The game was rearranged for Tuesday night but, following a further inspection on Monday, it was postponed again and is now scheduled for tomorrow in front of up to 300 socially distanced fans with Covid protocols in place.
“When you think of the Scottish Cup games that we've had, normally your memory takes you back to the away games that we've played in," Manson said. "But in my time we've had some memorable home ties as well, albeit with a lot more than 300 people in the ground.
"But we'll try our best on Saturday to create another memorable match.”
Midfielder Jack Halliday is still ruled out and defender Danny Mackay is doubtful following his head injury in the recent league defeat at Brora.
“It's still going to be touch and go whether he'll make it after his head knock," Manson said. "We need to be careful with all things to do with head injuries.
“We'll see how it goes with Danny, but apart from that everyone else is available barring Jack Halliday.”
Last Saturday's postponement meant an extra training session for the Wick squad.
“Preparations are going okay," Manson said. "We're fully up to speed with how Musselburgh play and we've got a plan in place so we're just waiting for the game to go ahead now.
“You can only do so much homework on them, and on the day they might decide to play a completely different way. You never know. It's just a chance you take.”
Manson admitted he was surprised that the decision to cancel the midweek match was taken so early.
“I'm not quite sure why the SFA requested a pitch inspection on Monday morning for a Tuesday night match," he said. "That's what we were told to do, so that's what we did, but it was a bit strange.”
The winners will earn a trip to face League Two side Cowdenbeath in round one on Boxing Day – but Manson is not looking that far ahead.
“I've not really thought about that," he said. "I'm not one for tempting fate or anything like that.
"We'll deal with this game first. My full attention is on Musselburgh on Saturday and I haven't thought about Cowdenbeath."
The East Lothian club will be travelling north the day before the match.
Manager Kevin McDonald said: “We're trying to keep to the preparations we had last week. Nothing changes with regard to how we're going to prepare for the game.
“Wick have been brilliant in getting the pitch inspections done early to save us having to travel up. That has helped. Fingers crossed we'll get it played this week.
"We still have a suspension from the round before but my goalkeeper Paul Grant will be back fit, so that's a plus. He has managed to get a week's training in.
“Selection will be tough – bringing boys up to Wick and then potentially not playing. That's the hardest part of the job."
Tickets purchased for the original date remain valid. There will be no boardroom hospitality or tea-hut provision.
Scottish Cup first round (ties to be played on Saturday, December 26): Albion Rovers v Buckie Thistle; Berwick Rangers v Stirling Albion; Bonnyrigg Rose v Coldstream or Bo'ness United; Brechin City v Glasgow City or Linlithgow Rose; Camelon v Brora Rangers; Cowdenbeath v Wick Academy or Musselburgh Athletic; Dundonald Bluebell v Queen's Park; Edinburgh City v Caledonian Braves; Elgin City v Civil Service Strollers; Gala Fairydean Rovers v Annan Athletic; Haddington Athletic v Formartine United or Turriff United; Huntly v Cumbernauld Colts; Keith v Hill of Beath Hawthorn; Kelty Hearts v Jeanfield Swifts; Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale v Banks O'Dee; Nairn County v Broxburn Athletic; Rothes v Fraserburgh; Stenhousemuir v Preston Athletic or Hawick Royal Albert United; Stranraer v Spartans; Tranent United v East Stirlingshire.