Self-belief won't be a problem for Academy at Buckie, says manager McKenna
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WICK Academy boss Tom McKenna insists his players will not be lacking in self-belief as they head to Victoria Park for Saturday's Highland League match against Buckie Thistle.
The Jags are sitting in fifth place, while Academy dropped to 11th after last weekend's 1-1 draw at home to Clachnacuddin.
But the Scorries have fared better away this season than at Harmsworth Park, picking up 15 points on their travels as opposed to eight at home. With squad numbers gradually improving, McKenna believes they should have nothing to fear – despite the disruption to the training schedule caused by Christmas falling in midweek.
“Buckie is a very difficult place to go. They’re a good team at home. They’re strong, they’re organised and they’ve got individuals with a lot of quality," he said.
“But we’ll go there with a lot of confidence and self-belief. We’ve got players in our team that can cause them a lot of problems.
“It’s a decent pitch to play on as well. The boys like to play football and when you’ve got a good playing surface it really helps.”
Academy were thumped 5-2 at Victoria Park last season but won 3-1 on their previous visit. When the teams met at Harmsworth Park in August, Buckie came from behind to win 2-1.
We’ve got players in our team that can cause them a lot of problems.
McKenna will be looking for an improvement on the Clach result which he said was typical of Academy’s lack of consistency this season.
The Scorries went into the match looking to keep up the momentum from the 2-1 victory over Formartine United. But it ended all square after Scott Graham’s early opener for the visitors was cancelled out by a strike from Jack Henry.
“It was a frustrating afternoon,” said McKenna, who felt that the bumpy Harmsworth playing surface had been a factor.
“The pitch is not conducive to how they want to play, but then you’ve got to be able to be adaptable,” he said. “Either team could have won it – the game was quite evenly balanced.
“I think we just came unstuck in the first 10 minutes. We didn’t settle in to the game quickly enough, we conceded a free kick and they eventually scored from the second phase of that, so we were chasing the game.
“We got ourselves back in it through Jack Henry and we had a great opportunity across the face of goal with Jack Halliday.
“No disrespect, but these are the teams we should be getting three points against. It was two points dropped for us but that has probably been the story of the season.
“It’s frustrating after the excellent performance against Formartine.
“The lads wanted a wee bit more and they expected a wee bit more. Those are the standards they have set for themselves.
“Unfortunately there hasn’t really been any consistency in our performances throughout the year and this was just an example of that.”
He added: “We’re starting to get good numbers again and the squad is a lot healthier at the moment, so we’re in a good position regarding personnel.”
McKenna is looking forward to getting Craig Gunn back from injury and linking up again with Davie Allan in attack.
“Craig is probably the most natural goalscorer we’ve got in the team so his absence is really missed," the manager said.
“At the moment Davie Allan is being really constructive. He is working very hard – he just doesn’t stop. He unsettles people, and with the goalscoring ability Craig has got, and with Davie working the way he is, it’ll be a great partnership.”