McKenna would be happy to consign recent form to history with scrappy win
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Manager Tom McKenna has admitted he'll take the scrappiest victory ever if it means Wick Academy getting three points this weekend.
The Scorries have won just one of their last nine league and cup fixtures. The only victory in that spell came on November 2 when Gary Manson's penalty sealed a 1-0 success at Inverurie.
More wins are going to be needed to stop a descent down the Highland League table.
Academy welcome Strathspey Thistle to Harmsworth Park on Saturday, with many seeing this as a chance for the Scorries to get out of their recent rut.
A glance at the history books shows this fixture has been good to Academy.
In their meetings in the Highland League, Wick's record reads: played 20, won 17, drawn once and lost twice.
Academy also had the honour of welcoming Strathspey into the Highland League by dishing out an 8-1 thrashing in Thistle's inaugural fixture. Richard Macadie bagged four that day, with all the Wick goals coming in the first half.
Goals have flowed for Wick in this fixture with Academy rattling in 83 of them in those 20 games. However, the Strathy Jags have shown a big improvement in recent times and McKenna would be happy to earn a single-goal victory.
"The record books heavily point in our favour both in terms of wins and goals scored," he said. "But given where we are at right now, a 1-0 win via a scrappy performance is something I'd take.
"We are not on the best of runs and we need three points to break the cycle and give us something to build on as we try and get ourselves back up the table.
"Even if we were going well, I wouldn't be so silly as to write off Strathspey despite our good record against them.
The boys have come off that pitch with a win but knowing fine well they've been in a tough game.
"Since I've been manager, I've always found Strathspey to be a good, honest, hard-working team to play against.
"In the three league matches we've beaten them in since I took charge, the boys have come off that pitch with a win but knowing fine well they've been in a tough game.
"Strathspey must not be underestimated and we've got to ensure that our own qualities come to the fore."
As ever, Academy are sweating on the fitness of a number of players.
Craig Gunn's hamstring looks set to rule him out, while Richard Macadie, Sam Mackay and Ross Allan are booked in for physio sessions to see if they will be able to start.
One cry echoing out from social media is "get the youngsters in" but McKenna insists that careful nurturing is needed of any talent emerging from the youth ranks.
He added: "Say, for the sake of argument, that we do have a young boy with exceptional quality in the youth teams. You still have to develop that talent.
"A 16 or a 17-year-old is still developing physically and it will be a while before he has the physical body strength to play against grown men.
"You also have to be mindful of burnout. Assuming a young lad comes in and does well, you have to resist the temptation to keep playing him when his body will need a rest.
"Ross Mackay has come in from the under-17s this season but, like Kuba Koziol and Jonah Martens, he is still raw and developing his game.
"We are monitoring a couple of youth players within our ranks but we have to make sure that they are ready for first-team action instead of just flinging them in at the deep end."
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