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McKenna striving for selection continuity


By Matt Leslie


Wick Academy's Craig Gunn fends off Reece McKeown during last Saturday's 3-0 cup defeat to Huntly. Gunn, who is top scorer for the Scorries this season, is carrying a niggling injury and will have hit fitness assessed ahead of this weekend's game against Fraserburgh. Picture: Mel Roger
Wick Academy's Craig Gunn fends off Reece McKeown during last Saturday's 3-0 cup defeat to Huntly. Gunn, who is top scorer for the Scorries this season, is carrying a niggling injury and will have hit fitness assessed ahead of this weekend's game against Fraserburgh. Picture: Mel Roger

Continuity will be central to Wick Academy digging themselves out of their mini-rut, boss Tom McKenna insists.

A dire display at home last Saturday saw the Scorries crash out of the Highland League Cup at the hands of Huntly, while in the previous match at Keith they pinched a draw with a display that was more worthy of a defeat.

Next up is a visit from title-chasing Fraserburgh in the league this weekend. McKenna will be hoping that some of his big names pass their respective fitness tests to help Wick's chances of sending the Broch back down the road empty-handed.

There are injury concerns over Craig Gunn, Richard Macadie and Alan Farquhar and the manager hopes all three get the green light to start on Saturday. Not starting will be Ross Allan, who is suspended, and Jack Halliday who is absent because of work.

"The last few weeks we've had some players having to play out of position due to injuries," McKenna said.

"You've seen Craig Gunn – our top scorer – having to fill in at right-back and last weekend we had pull Sam Mackay back from midfield to help out in the centre of defence.

"Playing a player out of position is not a decision we take lightly. Some players are adaptable and others are not.

"We would have a conversation with an individual player to see if they would be comfortable in switching positions to cover for a team-mate who is unavailable through injury or work.

People can say I'm making excuses but all I can do is give my reasons.

"I've heard one or two shouts for me to put in the youngsters but that is not always the solution.

"The youngsters we have are raw, still developing both physically and with their skills, and they also have a lot to learn. They'll need experienced players out there alongside them as they're developing.

"It's also noticeable that our substitutes' bench this season in comparison to last year is not as strong.

"Until we can get continuity with team selection, we're going to have to fill the gaps when we can.

"People can say I'm making excuses but all I can do is give my reasons as to why I'm playing a certain formation or picking players to play in certain positions.

"Neither myself nor the boys set out to have a bad game but we need a fully fit squad to bring some continuity."

While McKenna sweats over the fitness of Gunn, Farquhar and Macadie, he is relishing the clash with Fraserburgh.

He said: "I'm looking forward to this one. The boys really thrive on the challenge when a team that's close to the top come here.

"If we can get the right personnel out on the pitch, we can compete against Fraserburgh and hopefully take something from them.

"Not to mention the small matter of making amends for what happened at their place at the start of the season [Academy lost 5-0]. We were struggling for personnel then so if we have a decent-sized squad fit for this one then it should be a good game."



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